The Emperor’s New Clothes

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish creator of fairy tales who lived in the 1800’s.  In an alternative universe, he’s an American in the 2000’s.

There once was an emperor.  He thought quite a lot of himself.  Others decided to follow suit.

Prime Minister:  The people are clamoring for you, Your Majesty.

Emperor:  They’re not clamoring very loud.

Prime Minister:  But they’re our best clamorers …

Emperor:  Tell them I want more clamoring.  I want more clamor!

Bad people posing as weavers offered to create for His Topness a stunning new wardrobe.  The only members of the public who wouldn’t be able to see the finery were those who were stupid or incompetent.  And who would want to be considered as such?

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another.  They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train – as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look.  Aren’t they becoming?” he heard on all sides.  “That pattern, so perfect!  Those colors, so suitable!  It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the Minister of Public Processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror.  “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?”  He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle.  Then they pretended to lift and hold it high.  They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

The crowds cheered and kept their gaping hidden behind the folds of the face.  Not a word of discord would be said.  Hundreds of people nodded and clapped.

“But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last.  “Good heavens!  Listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said.  “But he has nothing on at all,” cried at last the whole people.

And please tell me when the moment of “at last” will finally come.

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