THE TYRANTS NEW
CLOTHESMany years ago there lived a
tyrant so excessively fond of
grand new clothes that he spent his inheritance upon them, that he might be
He did not care about his
soldiers, nor about the theatre, and
only liked to cakewalk his new
He had a coat for every hour of the day; and as they say
of a leader, "He is in council," so they always said of him, "The
tyrant is in the wardrobe."
In the great city in which he lived
it was always very merry; every day came many strangers; one day
two rogues came:
they gave themselves out as weavers, and
declared they could
weave the finest cloth anyone could imagine.
Not only were their colors
and patterns beautiful, but the
clothes made of the substance possessed the wonderful quality that they became
invisible to anyone who was unfit
for the office he held, or was an incorrigibly fool.
"Those would be capital clothes!"
thought the tyrant. "If
I wore those,
I should be able to find out what
men in my empire are not fit for the places they have;
I could tell the clever from the
dunces. Yes, the substance must be woven for me directly!"
And he gave
the two rogues
a great deal of gold, that
they might begin their work at once.
As for the
two rogues, they
put up two looms, and pretended to be working; but they had nothing at all on
They at once demanded the finest silk and the costliest
gold; this they put into their own
pockets, and worked at the empty looms into the night.
"I should like
to know how far they have got on with the clothes," thought the
He felt quite uncomfortable when
he thought that those who were not fit for their offices could not see the fine
cloth on the loom.
He knew he had nothing to fear for himself, but
yet he preferred first to send someone else to see how matters stood.
All the people in the
city knew what
peculiar power the cloth possessed, and all were anxious to see how foolish
their neighbors were.
"I will send my honest old Minister to the
tyrant. "He can judge best how
the cloth looks, for he has sense, and no one understands his office better
Now the honest old Minister
went out into the hall where the
two rogues sat
working at the empty looms.
"Mercy on us!"
thought the honest old Minister, and he opened
his eyes wide.
see anything at all!"
two rogues begged
him to be so good as to come nearer, and asked if he did not approve of the
colors and the pattern.
They pointed at the empty loom, and the poor
old Minister went on opening his eyes; but he could see nothing, for there was
nothing to see.
"Mercy!" thought he, "can I indeed be such a
fool? Am I not fit for my office? I never had
such thoughts, and not a soul must know it. No, it will never do for me to tell
that I could not see the cloth."
"What do you think?" asked one, as he
went on weaving.
engaged in white propaganda.
"0, it is charming, quite enchanting!"
answered the old Minister, as he peered through his spectacles. "What
a fine pattern, and what
colors! Yes, I
shall tell the tyrant that I am
very much pleased with it."
"Well, we are glad of that," said both the
weavers; and then they named the
explained the strange pattern.
The old Minister listened attentively, that he might be able to
repeat it when the
tyrant came. And he did so.
Now the two
rogues asked for more money, and silk and
gold, which they
declared they wanted
They put all into their own pockets, and not a
thread was put upon the loom; they
continued to work at the empty frames as before.
tyrant soon sent again,
dispatching another honest officer of the court, to see how the weaving was
going on, and if the cloth would soon be ready.
He fared as the first: he looked and
looked, but, as there was nothing to be seen but the empty looms, he could see
"Is not that a pretty piece of cloth?" asked the
two rogues; and
they displayed and explained the handsome pattern which was not there at all.
"I am not a fool!" thought the man, "It must be my
good office, for which I am not fit!"
So he praised the cloth which he
did not see, and expressed his pleasure at the
colors and charming pattern. "Yes,
it is enchanting," he told the tyrant.
All the people in
the village were talking of the gorgeous
So the tyrant
wished to see it himself while it was still upon the loom.
a whole crowd of 'chosen',
among whom were also the two honest statesmen who had
already been there, he went to the
rogues, who were continued weaving without fibre or
"Is not that splendid ?" said the two statesmen, who had
already been there once. "Does not your Majesty remark
the pattern and the
They pointed at the empty loom, for they thought that the others could
see the cloth.
"What's this?" thought the
tyrant. "I can see nothing at
"0, it is very pretty!" the
tyrant said aloud. "It has our
He nodded contentedly while gazing at the empty loom.
splendid, excellent!" went from mouth to mouth.
On all sides there
seemed to be general rejoicing, and the
tyrant gave the
two rogues the
title of Imperial Court Weavers.
All night the
two rogues toiled
while keeping sixteen candles burning.
They took the cloth off the loom;
they made cuts in the air with great scissors; they sewed with needles
thread; and at last they said, "Now
the clothes are ready!"
"It is as light as a spider's web: one would
think one had nothing on; that is just the
beauty of it."
"Will your Imperial Majesty please take off
your clothes?" said the
two rogues; "then
we will put on your the new clothes here in front of
the great mirror."
The tyrant took off his
clothes, and the two
rogues pretended to dress him while the
tyrant turned round and round
before the mirror.
"0, how well they look! how capitally they fit!"
said all. "What a pattern! what colors! That is a splendid dress!"
are standing outside with the canopy, which is to be borne above your Majesty
in the procession!" announced the head master of the ceremonies.
I am ready," replied the tyrant. "Does it not suit me
He turned again to the mirror, for he wanted it to appear as if
he contemplated his adornment with great interest.
chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stooped down with their hands toward
the floor, just as if they were picking up the mantle; then they pretended to
be holding something in the air.
So the tyrant went in
procession under the rich canopy, and everyone in the streets said, "How
incomparable are the tyrant's new clothes!"
"But he has nothing on!" a
little child cried out at last.
"Listen to the words of the innocent!" spoke the father.
"He has nothing on!" laughed the people.
The tyrant winced
for he knew it to be true but he thought to himself, "I must go through with
And so he held himself a little
higher, and the chamberlains held on tighter than ever, and carried the train
which did not exist at all.
- Hans Christain Andersen, Dutch
storyteller and moralist
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