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Jonah and the Big Fish

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Jonah dives into whale

Jonah was a prophet who ran away from God. He set to sea, and ended up inside a big fish. Some say it was a whale – and for that reason the story is sometimes called Jonah and the Whale.

We’ve added lots of sound effects for the storm.

Adapted by Bertie from the Book of Jonah in the Bible, with some speeches drawn from the King James version.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.

Read by Natasha.

Jonah inside Big Fish

Long ago, there lived a man called Jonah, the son of Amittai – which means Truth. A son of Truth, and a prophet, Jonah often heard the word of the Lord God. This gift was not one that he appreciated at all, far from it – for although the truth will enlighten us, all too often it will alarm us first.

One night, in a dream, God said to him, “Arise. Go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”

When Jonah heard these words, he was afraid.

“Oh Lord, what wrong have I done to deserve this, your command? I cannot win. I could go to the great city of Nineveh and call on the people to cease from worshipping idols and to leave their evil ways. Yes, I could do that, but would it make me popular? No. More likely they would grow angry at my ceaseless preaching, and they would throw stones at me. Then again, what if they did listen to my prophecy of doom? Suppose that they hear the word of God? I know you, my Lord, you are gracious and merciful, and you soon repent of your resolve to punish mankind. You will turn away from your plan to undo the city and to destroy the people. My prophecy of destruction shall not come to pass. I shall be a false prophet. A false prophet has the respect of no one.”

The Lord God did not answer Jonah, because he had told him once what he must do, and he did not mean to repeat himself.

Jonah arose – and he ran. He hurried himself to the port, and paid money to board a ship heading for Spain at the other end of the Mediterranean sea. Perhaps there, far away from the Holy Land, he would no longer hear the voice of truth that disturbed him so.

Jonah lay down in his cabin at the bottom of the ship, where he hoped that God would not spot him. The ship set out to sea, and he remained down below, refusing to come up on deck to sample the fresh sea breeze.

Some days out, the Lord sent a great wind and stirred up a mighty storm. The ship heaved and creaked, and wondered if it should break apart.

The sailors were afraid. They jettisoned their cargo over the side, to lighten the ship. The captain ordered that everyone on board must pray for salvation. Each cried to his own god – but their passenger was nowhere to be seen. The captain went down below to seek him out.

“What do you mean, O sleeper? Arise. Call upon your God and pray that he may save us from perishing.”

Jonah, reluctantly, and on wobbly legs, climbed up onto the deck. There the sailors were casting lots. Each had to pull a wooden stick out of bucket – he who drew the shortest would be, they believed, the cause of all their tempestuous trouble.

Jonah took his turn and drew the shortest stick. Twice again, they drew lots, and each time the result was the same.

“So it is you, oh passenger!” Cried the captain. “What is it that you have done to anger your god that he sends us this storm?”

“I am a Hebrew,” admitted Jonah, “and I am hiding from the Lord who made both the sea and the dry land.”

Now the sailors were even more afraid, for they saw that a man who runs away from his god must be very wicked indeed. Here was the explanation. The presence of this man was why the storm was raging all around them and threatening to break their ship.

“What shall we do to calm the waters?” They asked.

“Take me and throw me into the sea,” replied Jonah. “Do this, and the Lord God will calm the waters.”

Nevertheless, the sailors cried out, “We beseech thee, O Lord. We beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and do not make us spill innocent blood.”

They returned to their places and rowed hard against the tumultuous storm, but all their efforts were in vain, for the angry sea was far stronger than their puny arms. So in great sorrow, they picked up Jonah and cast him over the side of the ship into the stormy waters. Immediately, the sea ceased from raging. The calm miracle made a great impression on the sailors. They offered up a sacrifice of thanks to the Hebrew Lord and made their vows to him.

Though Jonah was tossed by the sea, he did not perish, for the Lord sent a giant sea creature to swallow him whole. Some say it was a whale, others a shark, and still others say a unique monster from the deep. Jonah himself had no opinion on the matter. All he knew was that he found himself on the inside of the mysterious fish from God, in its belly. There he remained, like a baby in the womb – only far less comfortable, for three days and nights as the sea creature swam the seas. All the while, Jonah prayed unto the Lord, his God, from out of the fish’s stomach.

“In my suffering, oh Lord, I cry to you from the belly of hell. You have cast me into the deep, into the midst of the seas. The waves passed over me, the waters dragged me down, even to my soul, and the weeds wrapped around my head. I pray to you, and I will make sacrifices to you again, for I know that salvation comes from the Lord.”

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65 Responses to “Jonah and the Big Fish”

  • alona says:

    can you tell the reason why you told that grace . i want to know it. i am waiting for your answer. please hurry up.

  • Ayo says:

    I love that story



  • ahmed egypt says:

    thank you very mush for such awonderfull story .acually it agrees with (jonah)’s story in (Qouran)as well.

  • angle says:

    the book is very good and i like the fish but not the whale

  • angle says:

    the book is very good and i like the fish but not the whale

  • makhongele says:

    the storie is good and educational, for good life

  • Ginge cast biggest fan says:

    Pritty good I like astropup better way better

  • Hamad says:


  • Johanna says:

    hi, it was a super duper story!!! i am just 9 years old,but a good story is a perfect story. i hope that ther will be more stories.i am a big fan of your stories.

    love Johanna!!!

  • will says:

    god bless aus

  • will says:

    god bless the usa

  • dalia says:

    verey good

  • Tegan says:

    It’s is a mashing and cool

  • Ramses says:

    Great story

  • Ramses says:

    Great story I really liked it

  • Anonymous says:

    i like it but it’s not possible

  • Polly says:

    I love cows
    I hate fish
    I love cows

  • Amelia says:

    It is boring…………………i am joking!

  • liam says:

    thus be bad

  • Bertie says:

    Dear Neythra, sorry I’ve been a bit slow with the replies this weekend. We were recording last night (Sunday) and there were fireworks nearby. We had to keep stopping the story because the bangs were so loud !

  • Rooshan says:

    I liked this story. It was very interesting. I got two moral lessons from this story. The first moral lesson I got from this story was that we should not turn our face from God and second moral lesson I got was that we should do work by our self, we should not depend on others.

  • Neythra says:


    hello I’m Neythra it is Diwali today and I’m really exited about it all my friends are coming round and we are exploding fire works. I can’t wait !

  • Minnie says:

    cool story :) I like how Natasha sums it up at the end

  • Bertie says:

    Georgia, I was brought up as a Christian in the Church of England.

  • Georgia says:

    Oh andn I loved yo ur story!!!!!!!!
    What religion are you!!?!?!:!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!?!????!?!?!¿!?!?!?!???!?!?!~?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!??!!!!!!!????????!!!!!!!?!!!!!!!!??????!!!!!???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?/:) :) m:)

  • Georgia says:

    I am christion

  • charissa says:

    please can you write a story about Queen Esther and Mordecai?(its a story from the Bible)

  • Prozy says:

    It a very nice story

  • debbie says:

    v.nice story,though I’ve heard it a thousand times.I am a jew.

  • daniel324 says:

    cool sounds-im jewish too!

  • Bertie says:

    Thank you Beatrix for being such a loyal listener !

  • Beatrix says:

    I adore the way Natasha reads the story and brings it to life. Her voice is very expressive. I also like her accent very much and now I know it’s from Cardiff, I’m glad of it. Thanks to Natasha, Bertie and everybody at Storynory:-D

  • Beatrix says:

    The pictures are outstanding with their bright colours and the story is enjoyable and educational. Sound effects highlight the crucial moments in the narration, but I think it is a great idea to have a version without them so one can choose what likes best or listen to both. Thanks Natasha and Bertie:-D

  • Bertie says:

    Dear Ella_G, yes, I agree that lots of people would like us to do more Bible stories, and will think about some suitable ones.

  • Ela_G says:

    Hey Bertie can you tell more stories about the Bible

  • Bertie says:

    Dear Ela_G, the Book of Jonah in the Bible just ends on God’s speech, so it is hard to tell. However, I think we can assume that Jonah did learn and realise that mercy is a good thing, especially when people change and try to be better.

  • Ela_G says:

    Dear Bertie did Jonah change after the God talked about the mercy thing

  • Bertie says:

    Hi Sarah and Nick,

    The sound FX are probably overdone in this one. I will have a go and bringing them down, and perhaps post one free of effects too.

    Thanks for your feedback !

    All the best


  • Sarah says:

    Hi there,

    My children (age 3 & 5) adore Natasha’s stories on Storynory, but found it hard to understand what she was saying during the sound effects in Jonah. As Nick requested, is there any chance we could get a music & sound effect free version?

    We love your work, and our evenings are better for your efforts.



  • God Lord says:

    Pray unto thy lord to be thou repaid for thy honesty.

  • Marcus Lutanian says:

    I’ve herd this story a million times

  • Bertie says:

    Dear leila we do say it is in Quran as well as the bible thanks though

  • Leila says:

    Is this from the Muslim bible cause I here this story in religion class :)

    Please reply

    Urs truly leila~

  • Bertie says:

    Dear Ela G Storynory is made in Britain

  • Ela_G says:

    Hey Bertie what nationality are you from

  • Bertie says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thank you for your comments which are really useful.

    Natasha is a great talent and I feel very lucky to work with her. Her lovely accent comes from Cardiff.

    She’s been saying Bye Bye for 8 years now. I could turn it down a bit in future – will consider – but it has become a trademark of her narration.

    I am going to re-upload Jonah tonight because there is an overlap (when she says something twice) towards the end. I am aware that Sound FX are not everyone’s taste, but we only use them sometimes. I do think they can give a story a lift. This is a bit of an experiment and I will wait and see what other people say. It’s not a sign of the times. We won’t have reverb and techno music in all our stories !

  • Nick says:

    Hi, my two kids aged 3 and 5 are huge fans. Providing so many great stories for free, this website is a real treasure. I have three questions:
    1. Natasha is such a talent…but what is her beautiful accent?
    2. When at the end of the story she says “bye, bye!” the volume is a little too loud and wakes my kids if they are already starting to slumber. Could you possibly modulate this just a little?
    3. The story of Jonah is great, but I think the effects (echo etc.) detract from it. Would it be possible to try it without the effects?
    I hate to bring up these two last comments because overall Bertie, Storynory, Natasha and all the readers are superb–you have been a real blessing in our lives. Keep up the wonderful work,

  • Nisha says:

    Hello Bertie and Natasha,
    This is wonderful!!!!!!!!
    Bye Bye

  • Nisha says:

    Hello Berthie and Nathasha,
    This is awesome blawesome

  • Good says:

    Back then if people don’t believe in god they would get exiquted I am glad it is not back then right now because I would be dead well really you would only get your head cut of if you don’t switch your belief.please reply

  • Bertie says:

    Dear All, I’m glad this story seems popular. It is the middle of the night here and I woke up and approved some comments – sorry some of you thought you were first. You could not see other comments because they were unapproved.

    Ddddd – yes we should do ‘Abram or Abraham one day. There are a lot of Amazing Old Testament stories.

    And yes we realise that many stories from the Torah, the Bible and the Quran are the same or similar.

    And Lily and Stella there will be some spectacular Bertie stories in the run up to Christmas.

    And Good, we will do some stories about Buddha one day – perhaps early next year.

  • Ddddddd says:

    Can you make one about Abram (Abraham)?pls reply

    First comment!!!!!!!

  • Stella and lily says:

    When’s the next Bertie story we’re trying to rush you!!! Your the best please reply , lily and stella

  • rainer says:

    hey i’m the first comment!!!! and I like the story. the pictures too (:

  • Good says:

    I know about this all ready but thank you.

  • Ela_G says:

    AWESOME! I’m the first comment! Hey Bertie what happened to Jonah after God said that?

  • Unknown says:

    Oh Jonah…

  • Guinea Pig says:

    Dear Bertie, this was a Torah story first! Just thought you’d want to know!;D

  • Divya says:

    Nice story love it

  • Grace says:

    Where did my comment go?
    Please answer, Bertie.

  • 윈진히 or Jinhee Won says:

    Korean : 나는 이책이 너무 조은거 갖해유.ㅠㅠ
    English : I think this story is great!

  • Grace says:

    Am I the first person?
    Anyways, great story!

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