The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Procession

The men who were to carry the train of the Emperor’s cloak stooped down to the floor as if picking up the train, and then held it high in the air. They did not dare let it be known that they could see nothing.

So the Emperor marched along under the bright canopy. Everybody in the streets and at the windows cried out: “How beautiful the Emperors new clothes are! What a fine train! And they fit to perfection!”

No one would let it be known that he could see nothing, for that would have proved that he was unfit for office or that he was very, very stupid. None of the Emperors clothes had ever been as successful as these.

“But he has nothing on!” said a little child.

“Just listen to the innocent!” said its father.

But one person whispered to another what the child had said. “He has nothing on! A child says he has nothing on!”

“But he has nothing on!” at last cried all the people.

The Emperor writhed, for he knew that this was true. But he realized that it would never do to stop the procession. So he held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlains carried the invisible train.

The Emperor under his canopy, while the people laugh because he has nothing on

From Andersen's Best Fairy Tales by Alice Corbin Henderson.
Chicago, New York: Rand, McNally & Company, 1911.

Classics Fairy tales


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