A Story From: Denmark
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins"]
For Ages: 5 to 7yrs., 8 to 10yrs.
The Emperor's New Clothes ~ "Early Reader" English Stories for Kids
There once lived an Emperor who loved nothing better than to wear fancy new clothes. Three times a day he would change into a brand new royal outfit. Many Emperors spend their day talking to advisors and fixing problems. You would not find this Emperor talking to an advisor. Oh, no! He was too busy sending his servants to find the next great outfit to wear.
One day two strangers came into town. They said they were weavers and that the cloth they wove was the finest anyone had ever seen. But in fact, they were not weavers at all – they were crooks.
These fake weavers said their cloth was more beautiful than any other cloth BUT it could not be seen by just anyone. Only people who were smart and good at heart could actually see their magic cloth. People who were not smart and good at heart – well, they would see nothing at all.
One day two strangers came to town.
Soon, word reached the Emperor that these two weavers had come to town with the finest cloth in the land. He thought, “I am the best Emperor ever! Anyone can tell by how grand I always look! I do not need to worry about that silly magic.”
So the Emperor went to see the two weavers. The clever crooks ran about their shop, pointing at empty spaces. They said with pride, “Look at this fine cloth! Surely you have never seen colors as bright as these, patterns as beautiful!” The Emperor could not understand it – he could see no cloth, anywhere!
He thought, “I cannot let anyone know that I cannot see the magic cloth! Who knows what they may think of me?” So instead he said, “Indeed, this is the most beautiful cloth I have ever seen!”
The Emperor could see no cloth, anywhere!
As it turns out, the Emperor’s Parade was coming up soon. This was a day when everyone in the kingdom lined up to admire him and cheer as he walked by. This year the Emperor wanted an outfit finer than ever before. It must be made from the weaver’s magic cloth!
Yet there was very little time. Could they weave the cloth in time? The two fake weavers frowned, as if they were thinking about it. Then they said yes, they could make him the finest royal outfit and cape. But it would cost many extra gold coins for the work to be ready on time.
The Emperor paid it all, and the two crooks put the gold right in their chest. But they did not buy yarn. All they bought were a few candles to burn in the windows at night. That way everyone would say, “Look! Those two weavers are working all night long to get the Emperor’s new clothes ready.”
The two crooks put the gold right in their chest.
On the morning of the Parade, the Emperor came to the weaver’s shop. He felt sure that this time he would be able to see the magic cloth. But still, the Emperor saw nothing!
When it was time for the Emperor to get undressed, the clever crooks said, “These clothes are so light and airy it will feel as if you have on nothing at all.” And indeed, that is how it seemed to the Emperor. For when he looked in the mirror, he saw in the reflection that he was wearing nothing at all. But he thought, really, he must be wearing a very grand outfit.
At the Parade, the Emperor walked tall and proud. Each person who saw him go by thought, “I cannot believe what I am seeing! The Emperor is wearing no clothes!” But each person said nothing. They knew that only people who were smart and good at heart could see the magic clothes. So instead they cheered, “There goes the Emperor! Doesn’t he look fine!”
Each person thought, “I cannot believe what I am seeing!"
All of a sudden, one little boy called out, “Look! The Emperor has no clothes!” Everyone gasped. Then the boy called out again, “Look at him! He has nothing on!”
Then someone laughed. And someone else. Then more and more people started to laugh. Someone said aloud, “Would you look at that? Our Emperor has no clothes!” Soon, everyone was calling out and laughing.
“Oh dear!” thought the Emperor. “Now everyone knows I could not see the cloth! They will know I didn’t speak up because I was afraid what people would think of me. How foolish I am! What will they think of me now?”
But the parade must go on, and so the Emperor continued to walk. And the servants behind him continued to hold high the train that wasn’t there.
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This story is adapted from "The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions. "The Emperor’s New Clothes" was first published with "The Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen, by C. A. Reitzel, on 7 April 1837, as the third and final installment of Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children.
Andersen's tale is based on a 1335 story from the Libro de los ejemplos (or El Conde Lucanor), a medieval Spanish collection of fifty-one cautionary tales with various sources such as Aesop and other classical writers and Persian folktales, by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282–1348). Andersen did not know the Spanish original but read the tale in a German translation, titled "So ist der Lauf der Welt". In the source tale, a king is hoodwinked by weavers who claim to make a suit of clothes invisible to any man not the son of his presumed father; whereas Andersen altered the source tale to direct the focus on courtly pride and intellectual vanity rather than adulterous paternity. -from Wikipedia