The Emperor's New Clothes
The emperor is sold clothes that only fools do not see. Child exposes him as naked. The people now recognize it too. The emperor does not let himself notice anything.
Many years ago there lived an Emperor who was so terribly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being properly dressed. He cared nothing for his soldiers, cared nothing for theatre, and loved it was not for him to go into the forest except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and just as a king was said to be in council, so here they always said, „Der Kaiser is in the dressing room!“
The big city where he lived was very lively. Many strangers arrived every day, and one day two swindlers who pretended to be weavers also came and said that they knew how to weave the most beautiful stuff imaginable. Not only are the colors and pattern unusually beautiful, but the clothes sewn by the witness should have the wonderful quality of being invisible to anyone who is unfit for office or who is unpardonably stupid.
"These would be magnificent clothes," thought the Emperor; if I had such, I could find out which men in my kingdom are not fit for the office they hold, I could distinguish the clever from the stupid! Yes, the stuff must be woven for me at once!” He gave the two scammers a large bounty to begin their work.
They also set up two looms, pretending to work, but they didn't have anything on the chair. Even so, they demanded the finest silk and the richest gold, but they pocketed it and worked on the empty chairs late into the night.
"Now I would like to know how far you have come with the witness!" thought the Emperor, but he felt uneasy when he thought that no one who was stupid or unfit for his office could see it. Though he thought he had nothing to fear for himself, he wished first to send another to see how things stood. Everyone in the whole city knew what special power the stuff had, and everyone was eager to see how bad or stupid their neighbor was.
"I want to send my old, honest minister to the weavers," thought the Emperor, he is the best judge of how the material looks, because he has sense, and no one does his job better than he does!
Now the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers were sitting and working on the empty looms. "God protect us!" thought the old minister and widened his eyes. "I can't see anything!" But he didn't say that.
Both scammers asked him to come closer and asked if it wasn't a nice pattern and colors. Then they pointed to the empty chair, and the poor old minister kept staring, but he could see nothing, for there was nothing there. 'Lord God,' he thought, am I being stupid? I never believed that, and nobody is allowed to know that! Should I not be fit for my office? No, it's not okay for me to say I can't see that stuff!"
"Well, you say nothing to that?" asked one of the weavers.
„Oh, it's cute, very sweet!“ replied the old minister, looking through his glasses. „This pattern and these colors! – Yes, I will tell the Emperor that I like it very much!“
„Well, that pleases us!“ said both weavers, and then they named the colors and explained the strange pattern. The old minister paid close attention so that he could say the same thing when he came back to the emperor, and he did.
Now the scammers demanded more money, more silk and more gold for weaving. They put everything in their own pockets, no thread came on the loom, but they continued to work on the empty looms as before.
The Emperor soon sent another able statesman to see how things were going with the weaving and whether the stuff was soon ready; but he felt just like the first one, he looked and looked; but because there was nothing but the loom, he could see nothing.
"'Isn't that a particularly gorgeous and pretty piece of stuff?'" asked the two scammers, showing and explaining the gorgeous pattern that wasn't there.
'I'm not stupid,' thought the man; So it's my good office, for which I'm not fit! That would be strange enough, but you don't have to let it be known!” So he praised the stuff he didn't see, assuring them of his delight at the beautiful color and pattern. "Yes, it is very lovely!" he said to the Emperor.
All the people of the city spoke of the glorious witness. Now the emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still on the loom. With a whole band of chosen men, among whom were the two honest statesmen who had been there before, he went to the two cunning deceivers, who were now weaving with all their might, but without fiber or thread.
"Yes, isn't that splendid?" said the two honest statesmen. "Do you want to see what pattern, what colors, Your Majesty?" and then they pointed to the empty loom, thinking the others might see the stuff.
'What!' thought the Emperor. I don't see anything! That's awful! I'm stupid? Am I not fit to be Emperor? That would be the most terrifying thing that could happen to me.” “Oh, it's very pretty,” he said; „It has my highest applause!“ and he nodded contentedly and looked at the empty loom. He didn't want to say that he couldn't see anything. All the entourage that he had with him looked and looked, but they didn't get any more out than all the others, but they said right away like the emperor: "Oh, that's pretty!" and they advised him these new splendid ones Wearing dresses for the first time at the great festival that was to come.
"It's lovely, cute, excellent”! It went from mouth to mouth, and everyone seemed to be delighted. The Kaiser awarded each of the imposters a Knight's Cross to hang in their buttonholes and the title of court weaver.
All night before the morning of the festival the tricksters were up and had lit sixteen candles so that they might be seen at their work quite well. The people could see that they were busy getting the Emperor's new clothes ready. They pretended to take the stuff out of the loom, they cut the air with big scissors, they sewed with sewing needles without thread, and at last they said, "Look, now the clothes are ready!"
The emperor himself came with his most distinguished officials, and both impostors raised one arm in the air, just as if they were holding something, and said: "Look, here are the trousers, here is the dress, here is the coat! „ and so forth. „It is as light as a cobweb; you'd think you had nothing on your body, but that's the beauty of it!“
"Yes!" said all the officials, but they couldn't see anything because there was nothing there.
„If your Imperial Majesty wishes to take off your clothes," said the impostors, "we will put your new ones on here in front of the big mirror!"
The emperor took off his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to put on every piece of the new clothes that were supposed to be ready sewn, and the emperor turned and turned in front of the mirror.
"Oh, how well they dress, how beautifully they sit!" said everyone. „What pattern, what colors! That's a costly suit!“ –
"Outside they stand with the canopy to be carried over Your Majesty!" reported the Chief of Ceremonies.
"Look, I'm done!" said the Emperor. „Isn't it good?“ and then he turned to the mirror again; for it should seem as if he were looking at his clothes rightly.
The chamberlains, who had the right to wear the train, put their hands on the floor as if lifting the train, they walked and pretended to hold something in the air; they dared not let it be known that they could see nothing.
So the emperor walked under the magnificent canopy, and all the people on the street and in the windows said: "How incomparable are the emperor's new clothes! What a train he has on his dress! How beautifully she sits!“ No one wanted to let it be known that he saw nothing; for then he would not have been fit for his office or would have been very stupid. No of the Emperor's clothes had been so fortunate as these.
"But he's not wearing anything!" said a small child at last. „Hear the voice of innocence!“ said the father; and one whispered to the other what the child had said.
"But he has nothing on!" cried the whole people at last. This moved the emperor, for the people seemed to agree with him, but he thought to himself: 'Now I must endure.' And the chamberlains went and carried the train, which was not there.