The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes A Danish folk tale

Once upon a time there was an Emperor who loved clothes! He loved clothes more than anything else! Every year on his birthday he would ask for lots of new clothes. And every year for his Christmas present he would ask for lots of new clothes. In fact all the Emperor ever wanted… was lots of new clothes! The Emperor loved clothes so much that he had whole rooms full of them! And he loved clothes so much that he would get changed twelve times a day (Oh I feel sorry for the people that had to do his washing they wished that the Emperor would get a life)! One day, two strangers arrived at the Emperor’s palace. “We can make you the most beautiful clothes in all the world and everyone will want clothes like yours and they won't be middle of the road clothes like the clothes you have been wearing” they said, bowing low to the Emperor. “Ah, this is what I’ve always wished for” thought the Emperor. “To wear the most beautiful clothes in all the world.” He was high just thinking about these new clothes. “You shall make me these beautiful clothes,” ordered the Emperor! For weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks the strangers worked on the clothes and wouldn’t let anybody see what they were doing because they were afraid of an information leak. But the Emperor grew impatient; he wanted to see the new clothes now! So one day he demanded to see them! When the strangers showed them to him the Emperor looked all around the room. He looked high… and he looked low. But he couldn’t see the new clothes anywhere! “Where are the new clothes I have paid you to make, have you bilked me?” demanded the Emperor! “But they are right here, Your Majesty,” said the first stranger. “What do you think? Aren’t they made of the most delightful material, the most sparkling colours, the most fashionable design?” The Emperor looked around confused; he couldn’t see anything! “I can’t see any clothes at all,” the Emperor said. “These,” the strangers said. “These clothes are so special and rare that only the cleverest people can see them. They are too fine to be seen by stupid and ignorant people; that is the magic of these amazing new clothes!” “Oh of course, of course” said the Emperor quickly. He was caught in a Catch 22, if he admitted he couldn't see them then he would be admitting to be stupid and igorant. “They are beautiful; this is just what I’ve always wanted! I’m sure my new clothes will be greatly admired by all of my people. Can I try them on?” “Well,” said the strangers “As you can see they’re not quite finished yet and you have caused us to lose time just showing you them. But if you could pay us a bit more money, I’m sure we could have them ready in time for the big parade. ” The Emperor promised to pay the strangers anything they wanted if they would have the new clothes ready for the big parade but he thought that they were ripping him off. He wanted everybody in the kingdom to see them! The day of the big parade came and the two strangers presented the Emperor with his new clothes. “Everyone will admire you, Your Majesty. The new clothes rock,” said the strangers. By this time the word had got out that these new clothes were so special that they could only be seen by clever people and, not wanting to appear stupid or ignorant (that Catch 22 again), all the Emperor’s friends said… “How beautiful! What colours! What style! Your new clothes are magnificent, Your Majesty!" “Oh dear,” thought the Emperor. “All my friends can see my new clothes but I can’t. Does this mean I’m stupid and ignorant and not fit to be Emperor? I will have to pretend I can see them so that nobody thinks I’m stupid. No-one can know the truth! (that Catch 22 again)” When it was time for the big parade the Emperor put on his new clothes, said “Follow me” to his friends, and marched out of his palace and onto the street. Crowds of people lined the road and watched the Emperor and the big parade. There were knights on horseback, huge elephants with jewels and smartly dressed soldiers parading along the street. With all the people and soldiers it was quite a zoo! But the star attraction of the big parade were the Emperor’s new clothes! The crowds had all heard that only clever people could see the Emperor’s new clothes and, not wanting to appear stupid or ignorant, (that Catch 22 again), they all said: “What a lovely outfit!” “Doesn’t he look smart!” “How lovely are the Emperor’s new clothes!” The Emperor was higher than a kite that everyone was admiring his new clothes, even if he couldn’t see them himself! Suddenly, a little voice from the crowd shouted out… “Hang on! He’s got nothing on! The Emperor’s as naked as the day he was born! The boy considered himself a card.” A hushed silence fell over the crowd and the big parade stopped… Then… Everyone suddenly burst out laughing! “The little boy’s right,” they said. “The Emperor hasn’t got any clothes on!” The Emperor blushed and went red. They were right… He wasn’t wearing any clothes at all!” Trying not to lose it he quitely said,“Pass me a cloak,” to one of his friends. “I must return to the palace and put some clothes on! I should never have trusted those strangers that only wanted to flatter me and take my money! I've been screwed! ”From that day on, the Emperor gave the little boy an important job in his palace because he was the only person that had told the truth. The Emperor had been made the goat by the strangers who disappeared with their dirty money. Whenever the Emperor needed advice he would always come to the little boy first.

Moral: If something is too good to believe....don't believe it!

Idioms in the story:

bilk dirty money card Catch 22 get a life high rock screw rip off cheap come to middle of the road higher than a kite information leak lose it the goat zoo lose time