The Emperor’s New Clothes


Once upon a time there was an Emperor who loved clothes. He had shirts, pants, jackets, hats, and shoes in every color you could think of. Red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white – you name it, he had it.

The Emperor spent all day every day trying on outfits and looking at himself in the big mirrors in his fancy bedroom. He would turn this way and that to see how he looked from every angle. “I do look mighty fine,” he would say with a smile.

In the Emperor’s kingdom lived two naughty tricksters named Lyle and Lorne. One day Lyle said to Lorne, “Let’s play a silly trick on the Emperor! I have an idea.”

Lorne said, “Oh yes, let’s trick the Emperor! What is your idea?”

Lyle whispered his idea into Lorne’s ear. Lorne giggled and said, “That is a wonderful trick! Let’s do it.”

So Lyle and Lorne went to the Emperor’s palace and told the guard they were master clothes makers. “We make magical clothes that only smart people can see,” they lied. “Let us make special new clothes for the Emperor!”

When the Emperor heard of the magical clothes, he jumped up and down for joy. “Oh boy, make me these special clothes! I want them right away!”

Lyle and Lorne pretended to take the Emperor’s measurements. Then they set up sewing machines in the palace. But the naughty tricksters weren’t really making anything at all! They faked sewing and cutting. “Almost done!” Lyle said. “These will be your best clothes ever.”

A week later Lyle and Lorne said, “Your new magical clothes are ready, Your Majesty!”

The Emperor raced to try them on. But he couldn’t see any new clothes. Had Lyle and Lorne played a mean trick on him? No, he thought, they wouldn’t dare trick an Emperor! If he couldn’t see the clothes then he must not be smart enough.

“Ah, yes, very nice, very nice,” the Emperor said, pretending to put on the invisible clothes. He didn’t want to look dumb in front of Lyle and Lorne.

Lorne said, “Oh Emperor, you look so handsome and wise in your special new clothes!”

Lyle added, “Only the smartest people can see how magnificent you look, Your Highness! Please wear your new clothes in a parade today so that all your people can see how clever their ruler is.”

The Emperor grinned. “Of course I will show off my new duds!” he declared. “Help me get ready for my parade.”

So Lyle and Lorne pretended to fuss over the Emperor, as if adjusting and straightening the invisible fancy clothes. Finally they said, “You look perfect, Your Majesty! Better go impress your people now!”

Proudly the Emperor strutted outside where his parade was ready. All his royal helpers stared in shock. Their ruler was marching naked! But no one dared to yell, “The Emperor has no clothes on!”

The Emperor waved happily at the crowd that had come to see the parade. He wanted them to admire his non-existent fancy new outfit. Some people whispered and giggled quietly. But the Emperor thought it was just sounds of amazement about how good he looked.

“What a fine Emperor!” one helper shouted, not wanting to admit what she really saw. The crowd cheered, even though the Emperor was as naked as can be.

At the back of the crowd stood a young child. She had not heard the others cheering for the silly royal parade. When she spied the Emperor marching down the street with his bare bum sticking out, she cried, “Mommy, the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”

The whole crowd gasped. Then they realized the child spoke the truth! Their great ruler was strutting and waving wearing only his royal crown and a big foolish grin.

The Emperor heard the gasps and paused. What was wrong? Then it hit him that he had been tricked! His cheeks turned red like two ripe apples. This whole time there were no magical clothes at all!

Embarrassed, the Emperor covered himself with his hands. “Someone bring me my robes at once!” he demanded. He turned and raced back to his palace halls.

Lyle and Lorne tried to sneak away through the confused crowd. But the palace guard caught them. “You tricked our Emperor and made a fool of him. To the dungeon with you both!” And the naughty fibbers were locked up for a good long while.

And the Emperor learned the lesson to never believe tales of magical clothes again. But he soon cheered up and went back to happily trying on his regular old outfits.

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