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Review and Moral of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'

Margaret Minnicks, an ordained minister and Bible teacher, is used to giving advice about life.


Hans Christian Andersen wrote the folktale The Emperor's New Clothes hundreds of years ago that has been translated into over 100 languages. Many different versions of the story have been told since then. However, the concept is the same as well as the moral of the story.

Names are not cited n this article. It is left up to the readers to make the connection between what happened to the emperor and what is happening in America today surrounding the result of the Presidential Election 2020.

The Story

Thousands of years ago, a very conceited emperor did not do his job as an effective leader because he didn't care about his soldiers, wars, or people in his country. He wasn't concerned that sick people couldn't afford medical care. He only cared about himself and how he looked. He spent hours in his dressing room trying on the newest and the finest clothes. He went out in public only to show off his new clothes which he changed several times a day.

Nobody could get the emperor to pay attention to the country he was leading. The residents were at their wit's end, but their hands were tied. They feared retaliation if they did not agree with the emperor no matter how wrong he was.

Many people showed up often to see the emperor's one-man fashion show. That gave two swindlers an idea. They posed as weavers and convinced the emperor that they could design the perfect outfit for him. They said the outfit would be made from the most magnificent fabrics imaginable with bright and beautiful colors and patterns. What impressed the emperor most of all was that the outfit would be invisible to the foolish and unfit subjects. Only the wise and loyal people would be able to see the emperor's new clothes.

The emperor believed he could look good and at the same time find out who the foolish people in his country were. Therefore, he jumped on the idea and even paid the crooks a large sum of money in advance to design new clothes right away for him.

The swindlers set up two looms and pretended to weave even though there was nothing on the looms. They worked throughout the night pretending to use the finest materials and threads to weave the perfect outfit on the empty looms.

When morning came, the emperor sent his aide to bring him the clothes he would wear throughout in a procession throughout the streets. The aide didn't see any clothes, but he was afraid to say so because he didn't want to be thought a fool and lose his position. So, when the weavers asked him what he thought of the clothes, the aide lied and said they were the best he had ever seen. The swindlers received their last hefty payment for the clothes and left town.

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When the emperor was presented with the clothes, he knew he could not see how beautiful they were, but he didn't want people to think he was a fool and unfit for his position.

When it was time for the emperor to ride in a public procession, noblemen stooped low to lift an invisible train because they didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold. Everyone who saw the emperor in the streets exclaimed how beautiful he looked in his new clothes. They went along with the pretense because they did not want to appear foolish.

Then a little child said, "But he isn't wearing clothes."

Others began to admit that they didn't see any clothes on the emperor. The words spread throughout the streets, and before long the whole town admitted that the emperor didn't have on any clothes.

The emperor suspected they were right, but he didn't hide. Instead, he let the procession continue. He walked more proudly as his noblemen held high a train behind the emperor that wasn't there at all.

A Modern-Day Leader

A modern-day leader is doing what the emperor did. Some people think he is fully dressed and is a good leader. However, there are some in the crowd like the little child who know that the leader is not wearing any clothes and they are not afraid of appearing foolish for saying so.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Jo Miller from Tennessee on November 23, 2020:

Very fitting story for our times.

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