->''"Read this story, my friend,''\\
''And you'll find at the end''\\
''That a suitable moral lies there."''
-->--'''''Pierre: A Cautionary Tale'''''

A song that tells a story and AnAesop; often this is a cautionary tale. These ballads can be preachy parables, snarky yarns, tragic tear-jerkers, or anything in between.

Contrast with MurderBallad, compare with ProtestSong and LetMeTellYouAStory. TeenageDeathSongs are frequently examples.
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!!Examples:

* Creator/WSGilbert seems to have enjoyed making light of the preachy variety:
** The poems "Gentle Jane" and "Teasing Tom" in ''Theatre/{{Patience}}'' belong to the Victorian genre of morality poems for children. They're not much even as parodies, but they serve to poke fun at the lovesick maidens' aesthetic tastes.
** Sir Joseph's song "When I was a lad" in ''Theatre/HMSPinafore''. It ends with a SpoofAesop:
-->''"Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,\\
And you may all be rulers of the Queen's Navee!"''
** "There lived a King" from ''Theatre/TheGondoliers'' is a more serious example.
* Maurice Sendak's picture book ''Pierre'', adapted from Creator/HermanMelville's source, as quoted above. This was set to music in ''Really Rosie'' and later covered by the Music/DresdenDolls.
* In the musical ''Lady In The Dark'', Liza Elliott is on trial before a circus (such things can happen in a DreamSequence) for being [[TheDitherer unable to Make Up Her Mind]] about [[BettyAndVeronica which of two men she wants to marry]]. For her defense, she offers "The Saga Of Jenny", which points a moral with which they cannot quarrel.
* "The Farmer On The Dole" by Music/PDQBach.
* The Oompa Loompa songs from ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' and ''Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator''.
* The vast majority of Music/HarryChapin's songs are {{Morality Ballad}}s of one degree or another, including "Cat's In The Cradle.", "The Rock" and "Flowers Are Red".
* "One Tin Soldier" by Coven definitely applies.
* "In the Ghetto" performed by Music/ElvisPresley on his album ''Music/FromElvisInMemphis'' is a plea to do something about poverty in the ghetto's. People born poor will have children who grew up in poverty and raise other children in poverty.
* Of course, the 60's were full of Morality Ballads, and Music/BobDylan made a career off of them. Among others, there's 'Like a Rolling Stone'.
* And it even predates Bob Dylan. Both Music/WoodyGuthrie and Music/PeteSeeger made a career out of straddling the line between MoralityBallad and ProtestSong.
* The Chad Mitchell Trio has both straight and parody examples of Morality Ballads. Their 'Mighty Day on Campus' album includes the darkly comic Lizzie Borden ("You can't chop your papa up in Massachussets. Massachussets is a far cry from New York"), but also includes 'Johnny' (based on 'Johnny I hardly knew ye', about a soldier who returns home from the war crippled).
* "The Ballad of Guiteau" in Creator/StephenSondheim's ''Theatre/{{Assassins}}'' starts with "Come all ye Christians and learn from a sinner: Charley Guiteau." It switches between the narrator singing about Guiteau, Guiteau singing about the importance of working hard and trusting God, and Guiteau singing a song - by the actual Guiteau - about how glad he is to be going to the Lordy.
* "The Bells of Notre Dame" from Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''.
* ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'' contains numerous parodies of nursery rhymes meant to teach children good behavior, almost all since [[WeirdAlEffect long-forgotten]].
* "Silas Stingy", a song John Entwistle wrote for Music/TheWho, tells the story of a [[TheScrooge Scrooge]] who's obsession with securing his fortune leads to some ironic karma.
* Many ChristianRock tunes that are not "praise songs" fall under this category.
* "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" by The Music/FlamingLips, about the [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity abuse of power]].
* "Boombox" by Music/TheLonelyIsland. It ends by saying it's a cautionary tale: the Boombox is not a toy.
* "The Snake", by Al Wilson.
* The song "Cocaine Blues" (written by "Red" Arnall, originally recorded by W. A. Nichol's Western Ace, and is best known from the version by Music/JohnnyCash) seems to be a parody: it revels in rebellion and substance abuse before admonishing listeners not to touch alcohol and cocaine ''in the very last line''.
* Hilariously parodied in the Creator/WCFields short ''The Fatal Glass of Beer''. Accompanied only by his zither (while wearing his mittens), Fields sings a lugubrious ballad about [[DryCrusader the evils of alcohol]] in which a young man who drinks a single glass of beer staggers out in the street and breaks a Salvation Army girl's tambourine. He gets his just desserts by getting kicked in the head by the girl in "a move she learned before she got saved".
* "Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women", originally by the Sons of the Pioneers, is another parody example.
* The verses of "Simple Joys" from ''Theatre/{{Pippin}}''.
* "Return to Innocence" by Enigma.
* Not technically a ballad: Music/AliceCooper's "Hey Stoopid" is a HairMetal song about avoiding the pitfalls of the rock 'n roll lifestyle.
* "Another Day In Paradise" by Music/PhilCollins focuses on the plight of the homeless.
* "Runaway Love" by Music/{{Ludacris}}, about the lives of various runaways and the circumstances leading to them running away.
* "Brenda's Got a Baby" by Music/TupacShakur, which details how a 12-year-old girl became pregnant (then driven to prostitution and killed by one of her johns) because her family and her society were not looking out for her.
* Music/SteveTaylor didn't write very many of these considering he's a Christian artist, but "Jenny" is unequivocally an example.
* Jimmie Dodd would usually sing one at the end of ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub''.
* Another example so perfect as to border on parody is Music/TheKinks' "Alcohol", from ''Music/MuswellHillbillies'', which even opens with the line "Here's a story about a sinner..."
* "Meeskite" from ''Theatre/{{Cabaret}}'':
-->Moral, moral,\\
Yes, indeed, the story has a moral, moral,\\
Though you're not a beauty, it is nevertheless quite true\\
There may be beautiful things in you.
* Creator/SteveMartin's parodic "Grandmother's Song" starts as a straight example, but turns into WordSaladLyrics starting at the end of the second verse:
--> ''Be thoughtful and trustful and childlike\\
Be witty and happy and wise\\
Be honest and love all your neighbors\\
Be obsequious, purple and clairvoyant...''
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