Storyteller: As all good stories go,
This too happened long, long ago.
Exactly when, I do not know,
But my dear grandma told me so,
That in the palace, built on the plain,
Lived the Emperor who was very, very vain.
He dressed at dawn, he dressed at night,
He dressed as often as he might.
He dressed for breakfast, he dressed for tea,
He dressed, whenever it pleased him, you see.
For affairs of State he couldn’t care less,
No wonder his empire was in a sorry mess.
Ah! Here he comes, all clad in green,
Watch him strut, watch him preen.
Emperor: “How far have you progressed, worthy gentlemen? I can hardly wait for the dress to be finished. I absolutely must, have a glimpse of your handiwork.”
First Dressmaker: “you have come in good time. Your majesty. The dress is almost complete. All that remain is the Jewel studded royal train. Come, take a look”.
(He leads the Emperor to a corner, where there is an empty loom).
Second Dressmaker: (running his hands thought the air)” Ah, do you see the embroidery at the neck? This peacock, studded with three jewels, isn’t it marvelous? And look at this diamond studded waistband. If you have ever seen anything more wonderful than this, why, we are willing to eat our shoes!”
Emperor: (under his breath) “My Lord! I can’t see a thing! Can it be that I, the Emperor of such a vast empire, am actually stupid? Well, if I am, then I must be careful, not to show it.”
Emperor: (walks towards the loom and exclaims aloud) “it’s unbelievable! Marvelous. Simply marvelous! And yes, the peacock looks real. I can’t tell you how happy you have made me. In fact, I can’t wait to wear it.”
First Dressmaker: “just one hour more. You’re Majesty and the dress will be ready for you to wear.”
Storyteller: Exclaiming over an invisible dress.
The foolish Emperor hides his distress.
The minister says, shaking his head, “What a dress!”
Though he can’t see a thread.
The courtiers, all too eager to please.
Is all praise of the invisible piece?
Each wondering as he prepares to lie,
“When the other can see it, why can’t l?
While all exclaim over the dress’s beauty.”
The dressmakers run away with their booty.
Now there’s the Emperor in the town square.
Wearing a dress that just isn’t there.
(The Emperor is taking a state ride through the town to show off his wonderful new dress to his admiring subjects. Though none of them can see the dress, all of them pretend to admire it, for fear that they would otherwise be considered fools)
First Townsman: “well, I ‘m sure we haven’t seen anything like this in all our lives. How majestic our Emperor looks in his wonderful robe.”
Second Townsman: “Yes, indeed. They say that he gave those clever dressmakers some of the finest jewels in his treasury. And why not? They have made for him a dress, fit for the very Gods!”
Third Townsman: “What colours! What designs! It has the colours of a rainbow”.
A child in a Woman’s Arms: “Mama! But I can’t see any clothes. He is wearing only his underwear and nothing else!”
Woman: “Hush, my child. Not so loud. Don’t listen to the child.”
First Townsman: “Did you hear what that child said? To tell you the truth, I too can’t see any clothes on the Emperor, except his undergarments”
Second Townsman: “The child is right. The Emperor does not seem to have any clothes on”.
(Soon there is a Buzz in the crowd. Slowly word reaches the Prime Minister that nobody can see the Emperor’s new clothes.)
Prime Minister: “you’re Majesty, er… Well … er…”
Emperor: “out with it! What is it? Have you found some new Marvels in this dress?”
Prime Minister: “Er.., well. Your Majesty, you see, I have just heard that nobody can see your new dress.
I can’t too. I …. I do think we have been Duped. Your Majesty, pardon me for saying this, but you are not wearing any clothes and everyone can see that you are wearing only your undergarments.”
(This moved the Emperor deeply, for it seemed to him that the people were right. The emperor waited to hear no more. But he felt that he must continue with the procession. The ministers continued to hold on to the train which was not there at all.)
Storyteller: The Emperor vowed that never again would he be so silly and vain. And here, story ends.