The Emperor’s Newer Clothes

March 3, 2008

 

When I was fairly young, I read Han Christian Anderson’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and was fairly impressed by it. Parents should be careful of what they allow their children to read, as some works of literature may have a harmful effect on the child’s later life.

When I looked up this story on the Internet, I discovered that Anderson took this story from earlier folktales. In fact, this story might be described as an archetype.

Some of the archetypes are older; some are newer. Here are some of the older archetypal versions of Anderson’s story. Recently I discovered a newer one that runs as a slightly altered version of Anderson’s ending for the story.

His story ends as follows:

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

“Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!” said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

“A small child said that he doesn’t have anything on!”

Finally everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.


 

Of course, Anderson lived in Denmark, a fairly gentle, tolerant, and peaceful country. Another ending occurs in Oceania.

In this ending, late that night, after the Emperor’s procession, the secret police come to the little child’s house. He is forced to witness the torture and death of several members of his family. Then he is tortured until he confesses that the Emperor’s New Clothes were indeed splendid.

That weekend, the little boy’s village is ethnically cleansed and renamed “New Clothes City.”

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6 Responses to “The Emperor’s Newer Clothes”

  1. vroni1208 Says:

    That “Yikes” goes for the previous 3 posts as well.

  2. modestypress Says:

    I am pretty badly yiked right now.

  3. Corina Says:

    I wonder if Dubya has noticed that he has no clothes and if he’s shivering while he gets on with the procession?

    Nah. That would require a brain.


  4. Having always been the sort of person who points out the lack of the emperor’s clothes, and having been subjected many times to some personal equivalent of attempted ethnic cleansing, I have no trouble buying the alternative ending.

    I still haven’t changed the name of my town,though. They’ll have to kill me first.


  5. Hey . . . you made up that last one! It’s sounds quite feasible, though.


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