There was an emperor who loved new clothes so much that he spent all his money on them. His favourite thing was to show off his new clothes! One day, two swindlers came to the palace. They said they were weavers and could make a special invisible fabric. Stupid and dishonest people could not see the fabric.
The emperor thought it a great idea to buy this fabric. In this way, he would discover which of his subjects were dishonest or stupid. He gave the swindlers a lot of money and they started weaving. They ordered the most beautiful fabrics and pretended to work very hard, but in fact they put all the money in their own pockets and made nothing at all!
A little later, the Emperor was curious to see if the clothes were ready. He was also nervous. Imagine that he himself could not see the new clothes. So, he first sent a clever man. When he saw the empty looms, he was shocked: Oh no, there was nothing to see. But he said nothing.
The swindlers showed him the clothes. But again, he saw nothing. He thought: am I so terribly stupid? No one should ever know about this. So he told the emperor, the clothes were beautiful. The weavers laughed contentedly. They asked for more money and put it all in their own pockets.
Then the emperor sent an honest man. But this man too saw nothing at all. He was sure he was not stupid, so he then he certainly wasn’t honest. Of course, no one was supposed to know that. So he too pretended to be honest and said the clothes were beautiful.
Then the emperor went to see for himself. He took a lot of people with him, including the clever and the honest man. They said, look Your Majesty ,how beautiful those clothes are. They thought that the other people could see the clothes.
The emperor thought, "I can't see anything. Am I stupid or dishonest? That would be terrible. So he too pretended to see the clothes. All his people didn’t see anything either but said the clothes were beautiful.
The next day, there was a festive procession. The whole night before, the impostors pretended to work hard. In the morning, the Emperor and his court went to see them again, and the weavers said: "The clothes are as light as cobwebs, it looks as if you aren’t wearing anything at all, but that is what makes them so beautiful.
Everyone shouted, but no one could see anything, because there was nothing to see. The Emperor took off his old clothes and put on the "new clothes". He could not see anything in the mirror but everyone shouted: how beautiful those clothes are!
Outside, the royal carriage was ready for the procession. Look at my new clothes," said the Emperor, "don't they suit me? The chamberlains had to lift the drag and pretended to see the clothes.
So began the procession of the Emperor in his new clothes. All the people in the street shouted how beautiful the new clothes were, and how long the drag was! No one wanted to show that they could not see anything at all, because that would mean they are stupid or dishonest.
But suddenly a small child shouted: the emperor is not wearing anything! And soon the news spread that the Emperor was naked.
All the people shouted the Emperor is not wearing anything. When the Emperor heard this, he believed that the people were right, but that it would be better if he pretended to be wearing clothes. And so his chamberlains just continued to lift his drag.