"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."
- Søren Kierkegaard
Many years ago there lived a
tyrant so excessively fond of grand new clothes that he spent the
He did not care about
his soldiers, nor about the
theatre, and only liked to cakewalk
his new clothes.
He had a coat for every hour of the day.
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 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
The two rogues put up two looms and pretended to be working.
But they had nothing at all on their looms.
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 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 matters stood.
All the people in the city knew what peculiar power the cloth
possessed, and all were anxious to see who was unfit.
"I will send my honest old
Minister to the weavers," thought the tyrant.
"He can judge best
how the cloth looks for he has sense."
The honest old Minister entered
the hall where the rogues sat at empty looms.
"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
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
"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."
you think?" asked a rogue, as he continued weaving air.
Then 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
Then they named the invisible colors, and explained the
The old Minister listens
attentively and parrots verbatim.
Now the two rogues demand more
money, silk thread and gold to carry on.
They hide 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.
The 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
mesmerizing" flutters mouth to
Amidst general celebration the tyrant bestowed the title
the two rogues toiled while keeping sixteen candles burning.
the cloth off the loom; they made cuts in the air with great scissors; they
sewed with needles without thread.
At last they said, "Finally 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
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 clothes!"
"They 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 well?"
He 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
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.
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."
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
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