Putting on new clothes

Hans Christian Andersen tells about an emperor who was so fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on them. Alas, the emperor was so committed to his clothes that he neglected to take care of his people's needs. Instead, he spent all his time in his dressing room, admiring his garments.

One day two swindlers came and claimed they were weavers who could weave the "finest cloth imaginable." Their colors and patterns, they said, were exceptionally beautiful, and the clothes possessed a wonderful quality--they were invisible to any man who was unfit for his office, or who was hopelessly stupid.

The emperor was impressed at the prospect of finding out which people in the empire were unfit for their posts, as well as telling the clever from the stupid. So he gave the men large amounts of money. The men pocketed the money and pretended to be weaving cloth.


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