"It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a
The clown came out to inform the public.
it was a jest and applauded.
He repeated his warning.
shouted even louder.
I think the world will come to an end amid the
from all the wits who believe that it is a joke." -
Many years ago there lived a
tyrant so excessively fond of grand new clothes that he spent the people's
inheritance upon them.
He did not care about
his soldiers, nor about
the theatre, and only liked to cakewalk his new clothes.
had a coat for every hour of the day.
So they always said of him, "The
tyrant is in the wardrobe."
In the great city in
which he lived it was always
Every day came many strangers.
One day two
rogues 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
"Those would be marvelous clothes!" thought the
"If I wore those clothes, I could discern the loyal from the
disloyal ! Yes, the substance must be woven for me directly!"
the two rogues a great deal of
gold as a retainer.
The two rogues 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
"I should like to know how far they have got on
with the clothes," thought the tyrant.
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
All the people in the city knew what peculiar power the
cloth possessed, and all were anxious to see who was unfit.
send my honest old Minister to the weavers," thought the tyrant.
can judge best how the cloth looks for he has sense."
The honest old
Minister entered the hall where the rogues sat at empty
"Mercy on us!" thought the
honest old Minister as he opened his eyes wide.
"I cannot see anything at all!"
The 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 a rogue, as he continued
honest old Minister 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 rogue weavers.
Then they named the invisible
colors, and explained the non-existent pattern.
The old Minister
listens attentively and parrots
Now the two rogues
demand more money, silk thread and gold to carry on.
everything in the chests that contained the looms and not a thread is put upon
the loom; they continued to work at the empty frames as before.
tyrant soon dispatched another honest officer of the court, to see how the
weaving wasprogressing, and an estimate of the time of completion.
He looked and looked but he could
"Is not that a pretty piece of cloth?" asked the two
rogues; and they displayed and explained the non-existent 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
beautiful colors and
charming pattern. "Yes, it is enchanting," he relayed to the
All the people in
the village were talking of the gorgeous cloth.
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 two cunning rogues, who were continued
weaving without fibre or thread.
"Is not that
splendid ?" note the two statesmen who the tyrant has always been able to
depend upon for homest advice. "Does not your Majesty appreciate
the pattern and
They point at the empty loom, thinking the others were able to see the
"What's this?" thought the tyrant. "I can see nothing at
"0, it is very pretty!" the tyrant chortled. "It has our
He nodded contentedly while gazing at the empty
"Beguiling; hypnotic; entrancing; mesmerizing" flutters mouth to
Amidst general celebration the tyrant bestowed the title
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 without
At last they said, "Finally the clothes are ready!"
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
undress?" said the two rogues; "then we will put on your the new clothes here
in front of the great mirror."
The tyrant undressed and the two rogues pretended to dress him while
the tyrant gyrated and did pirouettes 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 suit of
"They are standing outside with the canopy, which is to be
borne above your Majesty in the procession!" announced the head master of the
am ready," replied the tyrant. "Does it not suit me well?"
turned again to the mirror, he wanted
to appear as if he contemplated his adornment with great interest and so he
studied what was not there.
The two 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 His Majesty's new
"But he has nothing on!"
a small child cried out at
"Listen to the words of the innocent!" spoke the
A murmur arose.
"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 the procession."
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
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