Monday, January 18, 2010

The Emperor's {and Queen's} New Clothes

Many, many years ago there was a king and queen who were exceedingly rich and wise. They lived in the most beautiful kingdom of Edemshire. They had everything they could ever want and were totally content.

One particular thing the king and queen of Edemshire were known for were their glorious clothes. People from all over the kingdom would come to banquets and parties just to see what the master tailor had created for them. Their style set the stage for the kingdom. Everyone wanted to dress as gloriously as they did.

One day a swindler came to the kingdom posing as a tailor. Upon entering Edemshire he demand that the guard at the gate take him to see the king and queen. He told the guard that his name was Planos. He went on to say that he was a master tailor from a far off kingdom and that he had been summoned by the king and queen. The guard obliged. He thought the new tailor must have been summoned for the upcoming Jubilee.

Planos was taken directly to the king and queen. They were both very excited to meet this new tailor. Planos declared to them that he could make clothes even more magnificent then they had ever seen. Not only would the colors and patterns be splendid, but the clothes would have a special power. Planos the swindler tailor went on to explain that the clothes that he would make would be invisible to anyone that was stupid or unwise. The king and queen had never heard of anything like it. They were sold! Their curiosity got the better of them. So the king and queen gave Planos a large some of gold to get started on the new invisible clothes.

A week or so later Planos summoned the king and queen for a fitting. The new clothes were complete and just in time. The Jubilee was today. Soon everyone in the kingdom would be gathering at the palace for the celebration. They king and queen couldn't wait to see their new clothes. They entered the royal dressing room and there stood Planos.

"Here they are majesties." Planos declared pointing at the empty closet. "Aren't they the most magnificent clothes you have ever seen? Look at the beautiful colors and feel the luxurious texture." he added. But that was just it. The king and queen couldn't see anything. They reached their hand to the closet. They couldn't feel anything either. The king whispered to the queen under his breath "Can you see anything?" The queen shook her head to say "no".

Planos continued to speak lavishly about the clothes. He reminded the king and queen that the clothes were invisible to those without knowledge. The king subtly got the attention of the queen again.

"Say something." He whispered. "Say something before we both look like idiots."

Then the queen stepped forward. "Oh yes Planos! They are splendid!" she gushed. "I've never seen anything quite like them."

"Fantastic colors." the king interjected. "Why we will be the most magnificent in all of Edemshire."

"Yes, right. The most magnificent." Planos agreed snickering under breath.

"Well lets go ahead and try them on." the queen said.

"Yes, quite right" added the king "the people have been waiting to see your fantastic work. They must wait no longer. It is almost time for the Jubilee to begin."
Planos took the king and queen over to the dressing screen and hung the invisible clothes on the hook. "Don't forget that you must take off your old clothes first." Planos told the king and queen.

The king and queen preceded to take off their glorious old clothes. They both threw them in the corner behind the dressing screen. As they started putting on the new clothes Planos took a quick peek behind the screen. He could see that the king and queen still had their undergarments on.

"Everything off." Planos said with a chuckle. "My clothes won't have the secret power we discussed unless you take all your old clothes off."

Both the king and queen were quite nervous now. They were whispering to one another so that Plano couldn't hear. They were both confirming to one another that they in fact could not see the clothes. Neither one of them knew what to do. They didn't know what to say to Planos. They most certainly didn't want to look unwise. So they concluded that it was just them. They were sure that everyone else in the kingdom would be able to see the clothes. They started to think how much more magnificent they would be. How they would have more power over the people. With that thought the king and queen dropped the last of their under garments and threw them in the corner with their other old clothes.

The king and queen of Edemshire preceded to put on their new magic clothes that Planos had made. They both took one last nervous look at each other then stepped out from behind the dressing screen.

Magnificent indeed!" exclaimed Planos. "The colors and the patterns suit you both so well. I do believe this is my best work yet."

"Yes, yes, we agree." the king said nervously. "We absolutely love them." added the queen.

At that moment Ktistes walked by the door to the royal dressing room. Ktistes was the king and queens old tailor. He had been making clothes in the kingdom of Edemshire as long as anyone could remember. Being the royal master tailor, maybe he could see the new clothes Planos had made. More than that he was a trusted friend of both the king and queen an he would tell them the truth. The queen called for Ktistes to come into the dressing room at once.

"What do think of our new clothes Ktistes?" the queen asked. "Please tell us what you see and be honest." She added.

Ktistes stood there for a moment looking at his beloved king and queen in their invisible clothes. Planos for one was very interested to see what the old tailor would say. The king and queen looked quite anxious awaiting his response. Could Ktistes see the clothes or not? Was he wise or not?

"I think you are two of the most beautiful people I have every seen." Ktistes said softly. The king and queen breathed a huge sigh of relief. He must be able to see the clothes they thought to themselves. "But," Ktistes continued "you are in fact both naked."

"Idiot!" Planos blurted out. "You just can't see my magnificent clothes because you are unwise."

Ignoring Planos Ktistes walked over the the king and queen and said "Look at each other. Look how beautiful you both are. Think of how special you are; how valuable. This is why I have always loved making glorious clothes for you. To protect what you see now looking at each other. You are not idiots. But now neither one of you are protected."

"How are you to carry your sword and dagger?" Ktistes said to the king. "You have nowhere to put them with these clothes."

"How are you to keep warm in the cold? " Ktistes said to the queen. "How are you to swaddle a baby with these clothes?"

Ktistes continued "Pretending to see these clothes doesn't make you wise. On the contrary it makes you unwise. People will now judge only according to what they see instead of what I had created for you. It was the clothes that I created for you that made you wise and valuable. These clothes are beneath you."

"Enough!" Planos shouted pushing past Ktistes. "The king and queen have made their decision. They have hundreds of people waiting in the banquet hall and need to go."

"Yes, Planos is right. We can't keep the people waiting any longer." the king said. "Go ahead to the banquet hall Planos. We will be right behind you." the king added.

Once Planos had left the royal dressing room Ktistes pleaded with the king and queen that they were making a big mistake. But the king and queen didn't listen. They both took one last look at their old clothes piled in the corner and then walked out toward the banquet hall.

As the entered the banquet hall the chamberlain announced them in a loud voice for all to hear. "I give you the king and queen of Edemshire!" Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and turned to look at the king and queen in their new magnificent clothes. There stood the king and queen in front of all their loyal subjects; naked. There was a moment of excruciating silence that froze the entire room. Then from the very back there was a shout. "BRAVO!" And at that the room erupted into applause.

Not a person in that room could see any magnificent clothes on the king and queen. Yet not a person in that room wanted to seem stupid and unwise. A huge crowd began to gather around Planos. They were giving him gold and putting in orders for their own magnificent clothes. Planos laughed giddily that his scheme had worked. He knew everyone would want to be just like the king and queen. He knew that no one wanted to seem unwise. Planos would be rich at no cost to him. For it cost him nothing to make the invisible clothes. But it cost the people of Edemshire everything they had.

As the party continued Ktistes stayed sitting in the royal dressing room. He was heart broken at how the king and queen had been deceived. More so he knew that now after all these years he would be no longer needed. No one in the kingdom would want his clothes. Planos would be the tailor dressing everyone now. Ktistes went over to the corner of the dressing room and picked up the glorious clothes that he had made for the king and queen. The clothes that he had put his heart and soul in creating. The clothes that they had thrown into the corner as trash. He gently folded them up and put them into a box.

"They will want these back someday." Ktistes said to himself as warm tears began to stream down his face and into his snow white beard.

"Someday." He reassured himself.

An adaptation of "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Anderson.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...