Summary: We learned them as children, but did we learn from them? There is truth wrapped up in these tales!
Pt. 4 - The Emperor's New Clothes
These are the stories we learned as children. Either told to us by parents at bedtime or at school as we gathered at the feet of our teachers. These tales taught us life lessons and truths that we had to think through to grasp. However, unknown to many of us they also taught us significant spiritual truths! Let's look at one of these fairytales we know so well and see if we can unwrap a spiritual truth that is in it.
There once was an Emperor who loved nothing better than wearing fancy new clothes. Three times a day he would change into a brand-new royal outfit. Many Emperors spend their days talking to advisers and fixing problems of the land. Not this one! He was too busy sending out his servants to find the next great outfit to wear.
One day two strangers came to town. They said they were weavers. They said the cloth they wove was the finest anyone would ever see. But in fact, they were not weavers – 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 the most excellent could actually see the magic cloth. People who were not smart and not excellent – well, they would see nothing at all.
One day two strangers came to town.
Soon, word reached the Emperor about these two weavers and their fine cloth. He thought, “I am the most smart and the most excellent Emperor! 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. These clever crooks ran about their shop, pointing at empty corners and tables. They said with pride, “Look at these piles of fine cloth! Surely you have never seen colors as bright as these, patterns as beautiful!” The Emperor could not understand – he did not see any cloth, anywhere!
The Emperor thought, “I cannot let anyone know that I cannot see this magic cloth! Who knows what they may think of me!” So instead he said, “Indeed! This is the most beautiful cloth anyone has ever seen!”
The Emperor could see no cloth, anywhere!
As it turns out, the Emperor’s grand annual parade was coming up soon. This was a special day when everyone in the kingdom lined up to admire the Emperor and cheer him as he walked by. This year the Emperor wanted an outfit finer than ever before. It must be made from the weaver’s wonderful cloth!
Yet there was very little time. Could they weave the cloth in time for the parade? The two fake weavers frowned, as if they could not be sure. Then they smiled and said yes, they could make him the finest royal outfit and cape ever. But it would cost many extra gold coins for the work to be ready in time.
The Emperor paid it all. The two crooks put the gold right into 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 new weavers are working all night long to get the Emperor’s new clothes ready in time for the parade.”
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 nothing on 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. But he thought, really, he must be wearing a very grand outfit. One worth all the extra money he had spent.
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 excellent 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 another child called out, “Look at him! He has nothing on at all!”
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.