The Emperor's New Clothes

by Hans Christian Anderson

Once ago in a land near the sea ruled an emperor .  This emperor was a good ruler, but he was very proud and liked to look his best at all times.  This emperor loved beautiful, new clothes.

One day the emperor learned that two weavers had arrived and were looking for work.  They said that they could make the best and most beautiful cloth in all the world; however, the cloth wasinvisible to people who were unfit for their jobs and foolish people could not see the cloth.

The emperor knew he wanted it for two reasons.  First, he deserved to have clothes made from the most beautiful cloth.  Second, he would be able to tell whether the people who worked for him were fit for their jobs.  So he hired the weavers  to make the cloth and to sew him clothes made from it.

Every week the emperor sent people to check on the work of the weavers.  Every week, the workers watched the weavers pretending  to weave  cloth.  The people could not see the cloth.  They thought they could not see the cloth because they were not fit for their jobs.  They did not want the emperor to know this, so they told him that the  cloth was the most beautiful they had ever seen. 

Soon the weavers said the suit was ready.  They carried a package to the emperor.  They unwrapped the paper and pretended to hold up the suit.

The emperor could not see the suit.  He thought to himself, "I must not be fit for my job".  The emporer would not admit that he could not see the suit.  He did not want people to think he was not fit to be emperor or that he was foolish.  So he put on a shirt and some tights, and he let the weavers help him put on his new suit.  He paid the weavers for their work and thanked them for making him the most beautiful suit he had ever seen.

All the people pretended to see the suit because they did not want to seem foolish.  They applauded the emperor as he passed by.

Then a small child saw the emperor and shouted out, "Look, the emperor is only wearing his shirt and tights!"  People knew then that they could not see the suit because there was no suit.  The emperor and all the people had been fooled by the weavers .

The emperor learned a lesson that day.  He learned to judge people by the good work hey did, not how they complimented him.  He also learned that it is more important to be known as a good ruler than to be known as a well-dressed ruler.  Since that day, the emperor ruled his empire well, and he wore clothes just like everyone else's.