Legend of the Trojan Horse for Kids (Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts) Illustration

Legend of the Trojan Horse

There is an old saying - Beware of Greeks bearing gifts! That old saying goes back in time 2,500 years to the city-state of Sparta in ancient Greece.

As the story goes  ......

Once upon a time, there was an ancient city on the coast of Turkey named Troy. It was located across the Aegean Sea from the Greek city-state of Sparta. When the king of Sparta heard that his wife, the beautiful Helen, had been kidnapped by a prince of Troy, he called on the other Greek city-states to help him get her back. His call was answered. A thousand Greek ships set sail for Troy.

The city of Troy was protected by a high wall built around the city. Some parts of the wall were 20 feet high! There were gates in the wall to let people in and out but it provided great defense for the people of Troy. It gave the Trojan warriors a relatively safe place to stand, while they rained arrows down on the people below, who were trying to break into the city.

At the time of this story, Greek warriors had been trying to breach the wall around Troy for about ten years. The Greeks could not find a way in, and the Trojans did not seem able to drive the Greeks away.

Things looked pretty hopeless until Odysseus, a famous ancient Greek general, thought of a trick. It was the custom back then to leave a peace offering behind to admit defeat. Odysseus suggested the Greeks build a huge, heavy, beautiful wooden horse, and leave it outside the gates of Troy. Then, the entire Greek army would pretend to leave, as if they were headed for home. But it was a trick. The horse would be hollow. Thirty men would be hiding inside. The very best Greek artists got busy carving the giant wooden horse, adding great detail, because everything in the Greek world had to be as beautiful as possible.

When it was done, the Greek warriors pretended to sail away, leaving the horse behind. The people of Troy rushed outside, cheering their victory! They dragged the heavy horse inside the city gates and put it on display, which is just what the Greek general thought they would do - gloat.

That night, while the Trojan people were sleeping, the men hiding inside the wooden horse climbed out and opened the gates. The waiting Greek army entered Troy. That was the end of Troy.

Is this old legend true? It is certainly famous. Today, that old legend is known as the legend of the Trojan horse.

The Trojan Horse (cartoon video for kids)

Heroes of Troy - animated

Apollo and Cassandra & the Trojan War

Aphrodite, Helen of Troy - the face that launched a thousand ships, and the Trojan War - myth, loosely retold

Three Stories: The Trojan Horse, Troy, and Helen
(click on download, that means play audio stories now)

Did ancient Troy really exist? (animated, short video for kids)

What happened to the great Greek general Odysseus after the Trojan War?

Homer's Iliad

Homer's Odyssey