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The Emperors New Clothes – Storytelling #1

Tell a folk tale that is entertaining and enjoyable for a specific age group; Use vivid imagery and voice to enhance the tale.  For the purpose of this speech, Laura has chosen this Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Anderson.  It lends itself to pantomime, a style of storytelling that kids of all ages love. So with a talk entitled The Emperors New Clothes please welcome Laura McHarrie


Once upon a time in a land far away there was a very vain emperor.  When he wasn’t holding court, he spent most of his waking hours in his walk in wardrobe – or having tea at his tailors.

One fine mid summer’s day, the court was deliberating the finer nuances of hiring a traveling circus to follow the forthcoming annual parade. This year, the emperor announced, “I must have a new suit, a new suit in time for the pageant”.

Many in court raised their brow a fraction, even though they nodded, vigorously: Of course! Of Course! Of course! The court tailors rubbed their palms together.  Kerching!

The Emperor must have sensed the sound; he swung around, look them in the eye and announced … “it must be a special suit, like none there has been seen before.  And a special suit will need special tailors!” 

It just so happened that there were two interested opportunist in court that day. 

“Nous sommes … ow you say, ze tailors exceptionnel” said the gay Parisian in a pink three-piece pinstripe suit.  His companion, a stocky Jock in a kilt, nodded his agreement ; “Och aye the noo.  The peacock bloo in this plaid is like a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht.”

The emperors eyes lit up; then when the Parisian told him the cloth was embossed with sterling silver and 24 carat golden threads, he announced.  “Let it be sewn! You have an unlimited budget” It was then the impostors mentioned that the cloth was that special that only the intelligent and only those fit for office would be able to see it (and its true beauty.)

The two swindlers set up their looms in a large room in the palace.  They stashed the cash whilst they beavered about the pretence of weaving the tartan plaid.

After a while the emperor a little anxious asked his chief courtier to check on the progress.  The High Commissioner walked in to the weavers room and looked around with dismay. He could see them weaving and stitching but for the life of him, he could not see the plaid. 

“Monsieur ow good to see you – ow impressed are you with ze peacock coleurs in zis cloth?”  “I can honestly say” he stuttered “that I have never seen anything like it”

“Bien sur you are indeed fit for office and bien sur you are not .. ow you say Simples!”

The High Commissioner reported back that the cloth was beyond Compare in the Market.  It was quite out of this world!  That he couldn’t wait for the cloth made into the special suit for the grandest parade of all time.  Twice more the emperor sent courtiers to check on the progress.  Neither were simples! They both reported the same.

The time had come for the fitting of the emperors outfit. “Marvelous marvelous .. ow you like ze coleurs? Ow you zinc dis feels your highness?  It zis a little tight around ze collar perhaps?”

The emperor winced he could feel nothing, de rein, nada – Oh my word – was HE not fit for office? Was HE indeed simples?  How might he save his face?

Instead he blew his nose and proclaimed “C’est manifique!”  

He loves it” cried the Parisian.  “Hazzar!”

The annual day of parade arrived and the shysters dressed the emperor.  The emperor paid them handsomely and stepped into his open top float.  The crowd had gathered eagerly awaiting this moment. As always the annual parade was a sight to behold but this year, there was to be a traveling circus.  Plus they had all heard, on the grapevine, about the Emperors New Clothes. 

The cries went up as the emperor came forth from the gates – Hurrah!  Hurrah!  Hurrah!  Until a small boy who’d missed out on the gossip asked of his mother … “Mummy … why has the emperor got a bare behind? “

“That’s not a bear she replied that’s a Newfoundland!”  “No mummy” the small boy insisted.  “I see the big doggy but the emperor is nude! He’s naked.  He’s in the nuddy!”

The sniggers and titters spread among the crowed like a mexican wave.  The emperor couldn’t help but notice.  He looked down – then up – then down again!  Phewee the skirt on his float was at just the right hight to protect his embarrassment. 

The pretence over, the emperor sped up the procession, keen to return to his wardrobe.  As he entered the palace, he whipped off a courtier’s cape, wrapped it around his midriff and barged off to his boudoir.

The emperor didn’t come out for two days, but when he did – he announced that it took an honest and intelligent leader to recognise when one had been had. His courtiers nodded vigorously … Of course! Of course! Of course!


But … what do you think dear listeners?  What do you think the emperor and his courtiers had learnt? Had they all been caught out as simples?  Or maybe they had just got caught out by market forces?

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