Yes, the two sentences convey exactly the same information, packaged in slightly different ways. This is similar to how the three sentences below semantically entail each other:
- Someone sent Bob a book
- Bob was sent a book.
- A book was sent to Bob..
It might be easier to see how these sentences relate to each other by investigating some other closely related sentences. The sentence below is grammatical but clunky:
- [To tell long stories to the children] is easy.
The reason is that we find such sentences clunky seems to be that it is more difficult for us to process sentences which have clauses as subjects. One solution to this problem that the language makes available to us is the extraposition construction. In this construction we stick a meaningless dummy pronoun it in the subject position and shunt the non-finite clause down to the end of the matrix clause where it is easier to process.:
- It is easy [to tell long stories to the children].
Examples (1) and (2) mean exactly the same thing. [Notice that in (2), the subject pronoun is not a referential pronoun. It doesn't refer to the non-finite clause. It is just a meaningless filler for the obligatory subject position.]
We can compare example (2) here with the first of the Original Poster's examples, which uses a tough-movement construction:
- Long stories are easy [to tell ___ to the children].
This time, the non-finite clause still appears at the end of the matrix clause, where it would now be analysed as the complement of easy. However, instead of plugging the obligatory subject position with a dummy pronoun, we 'extract' one of the noun phrases (NPs) from the non-finite clause and use this NP to plug the subject position. This leaves a gap in the non-finite clause which is semantically co-indexed with the subject. We could informally represent the example in either of the following ways:
The example above means exactly the same as example (2). They reconstruct semantically in the same way. Meaning-wise, the subject long stories in (3) belongs together with the rest of the non-finite clause.
In that particular example, it happens to be the direct object of the verb tell which was 'extracted'. However, we can alternatively extract indirect objects or the objects of prepositions. The latter is what happens in the original Poster's second example:
- The children are easy to tell stories to:
We could represent this informally using either of the following:
Each of the examples above signifies that whatever quality is indicated by the predicate easy is applicable to whatever is represented by the non-finite clause [for an underspecified teller] to tell long stories to the children. There is no chance, therefore, of their different variants having different meanings. (1)–(4) entail each other.
An over-my-shoulder commentator has said that the easiness involved must surely apply to the denotee of the subject NP. For example, suppose the subject NP is Margery and that Margery is both easy-going, inspiring, and makes it rewarding to do difficult and unpleasant things for but that the action described by the infinitival VP is fiendishly difficult , unpleasant and not at all easy to achieve, then the following would be the sentence opted for:
5. Margery is easy to do extraordinarily difficult and unpleasant things for.
However, the sentence above means exactly the same as:
6. Extraordinarily difficult and unpleasant things are easy to do for Margery.
And this means the same as:
- It is easy to do extraordinarily difficult and unpleasant things for Margery.