The Emperor’s New Clothes

March 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Once upon a time there lived a vain and narcissistic Emperor whose only goal in life was to dress in elegant and fashion-forward clothes. He changed his clothes every hour, never wearing the same thing twice, and loved to parade through the city to show off his new and impressive outfits. 

Word of his fashion shows spread throughout the kingdom. Two scoundrels heard of the Emperor’s vanity and stereotypical super-model stupidity and decided to take advantage of it. They went to the palace and introduced themselves at the gates with an elaborate scheme in mind. 

“We are two prestigious fashion designers and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary fashion-forward cloth that is so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate high fashion.” 

The chief of the guards heard their strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and told him the incredible news. The Emperor’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two “fashion designers.” 

“Besides being invisible to fashion-incompetents, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you.” The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin “working on the fabric” immediately. 

“Just tell us what you need to get started and we’ll give it to you.” The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk thread, and gold thread and then pretended to begin working. During each break the two scoundrels took (more than necessary) they hid the gold and silk they pretended to have used in the making of the fake fabric. 

The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were stupid and fashion-incompetent. A few days passed and he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with uncommonly good taste. 

“Go and see how my new outfit is coming along,” the Emperor told him, “then come back to let me know how fierce I will look.” 

The two scoundrels welcomed the arrival of the Prime Minister, and told him: “We’re nearly finished, but we have run out of gold thread and need a lot more.” They pretended to hand the Prime Minister the fabric, “Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!” The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt a shiver of fear run up his spine and a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. 

“I can’t see anything,” he thought. “If I see nothing, that means I’m stupid! Or, worse, fashion-incompetent!” If the prime minister admitted that he didn’t see anything, he would be discharged from his office, for his Emperor would not allow anyone who was not fashionable hold an office in his court. 

“What marvelous fabric,” he said then. “I’ll certainly tell the Emperor.” The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it, and even more gold thread was on its way. 

A few days and a couple barrels of gold thread later, the Emperor received the announcement that fabric was done, and that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit. 

“Come in,” the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding large roll of fabric. 

“Here it is, your Royal Excellency, the result of our labor,” the scoundrels said. “We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fashion-forward fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the fierce colors and feel how fine the thread count is.” But of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting, for if he could not see the fabric, perhaps he was not as fiercely fashion-forward as he had always believed himself to be. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down instead of fainting. But then he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and fashion-incompetent. And the Emperor didn’t know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing: lied and said that it was beautiful and fashion-forward. 

The farce continued as the two scoundrels had planned. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their visible needles, invisible thread, and invisible cloth. 

“Your Highness, you’ll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones.” The two scoundrels draped the “new outfit” on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders visibly were, he felt relieved. 

“Yes, this is a beautiful fashion-forward suit and it looks very good on me,” the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. “You’ve done splendid work.” 

“Your Fabulous Majesty,” the prime minister said, “we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit.” The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent. 

“All right,” he said. “I will grant the people this privilege.” He summoned his catwalk-mobile and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. Applause welcomed the regal fashion show. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd. The murmur was soon overwhelmed by the shouts of praise for the clothes. 

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: “Look at the Emperor’s new clothes. They’re so fierce!” 

“What a marvelous train!” 

“And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life! So fashion-forward!” They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted. 

Lady Gaga, however, who had no tact went up to the catwalk-mobile and saw that the Emperor was naked. 

“The Emperor is a hot mess! The outfit is no outfit at all! His Royal Emperorness is naked,” She said. 

“Fool!” Cried the guards. “She is obviously unfashionable in her bedazzled dinosaur tailed thong and traffic cone bra. To the stocks with you!” But it was too late; the crowd had begun to murmur: 

“The wench is right! The Emperor is naked! It’s true! What a Hot Mess!” 

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn’t see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly, and bright red, on his catwalk-mobile, while behind him an embarrassed page held his imaginary cape. 

Want to read the read story? SPOILER ALERT: Lady Gaga isn’t in it.


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