That night, the Emperor did not sleep. He stayed up late, reading the biggest, heaviest books in his library.
“I just need a few more fancy words, THEN I’ll be able to see my clothes,” he thought.
In the morning, two servants came to the Emperor's room to dress him for the parade.
Of course, they couldn’t see any clothes either. But they said nothing. They did not want to look stupid.
They pretended to dress the emperor in invisible pants, invisible shirt, invisible jacket, and an invisible hat.
The emperor looked at himself in the mirror. He stared and he squinted. He turned his head left and right.
And … wait… there it was!
Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a slight shimmering fabric. A checkered pattern. A tiny bit of colour. He could see the clothes!
(In reality, there were no clothes. But we often see what we want to see.)
The emperor was happy that he could finally see the clothes.
“Let’s join the parade!” he shouted.
Everybody from the town was at the parade. All the intelligent people were there. All the scientists. All the writers. All the teachers. And all the children.
The emperor stood in his open carriage and waved to the crowd. But as the emperor’s carriage drove down the street, the crowd fell silent. The music stopped. Everybody stared at the emperor.
“These clothes must be amazing...” thought the emperor.
But then, from the back of the crowd, a small child yelled:
“Mummy, I can see his underpants!”
Everybody gasped. Then there were a few giggles. And then everyone on the street laughed — and laughed — and laughed even harder.
They clapped and shouted: “UN-DER-PANTS! UN-DER-PANTS!”
The emperor heard the crowd laugh. He knew he had been fooled. He wasn’t wearing special clothes. He was wearing nothing—only his underpants.
He jumped out of the carriage and ran all the way back to the palace. Behind him, he heard: “UN-DER-PANTS! UN-DER-PANTS!”
He ran to his bedroom and slammed the door.
Later, when his friends found him, he was lying on his bed. He was wearing all his real clothes: all his fancy shirts, all his fancy pants, and all one-thousand pairs of fancy socks.
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