Once upon a time, there was an emperor who loved clothes more than anything else. He had more clothes than anyone in the land. The emperor's clothes filled all the closets and rooms in the royal palace.
It was a good thing the emperor was very rich, because he spent so much money on clothes. The emperor selected only the finest, most comfortable fabrics, and hired the most skilled tailors and most talented weavers.
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The emperor also spent a lot of money on mirrors. He thought his fancy clothes made him look quite dashing, so he spent most of his free time looking at himself in the mirror.
The emperor's pride was very well known throughout the kingdom. Everyone thought he was silly to spend so much time in front of his mirrors. They made jokes behind the emperor's back, but no one ever said anything directly to his face.
No one wanted to make the emperor angry, because he was, after all, the ruler of the entire land.
Word of the silly emperor who loved fine clothes reached two thieves in a faraway land. Instead of making jokes about him, the thieves thought of a plan. "We can use the emperor's pride to make ourselves rich," said one thief.
"The emperor will never even know that he's been cheated," laughed the other.
The thieves dressed up as traveling tailors and made the long journey to the emperor's palace. When they arrived at the palace gate, they told the guards that they had special fabrics to show the emperor. They pretended to
have the rarest and most wonderful fabrics in the world. Of course, the guards let them pass through the gate.
The thieves were then taken to the throne room. The sneaky thieves presented themselves to the emperor and his wife. They explained that their fabric was not only wonderful, but magical, too. "Only the wisest people in the land will see the fabric," they said. "It will be invisible to fools and to those who are unfit for their office."
The thieves opened their bag. They appeared to carefully lift something into the air. They held their arms before the emperor and his wife.
The emperor squinted. He saw nothing at all in their hands! Why, I must be a fool, he thought. Either that or I do not deserve to sit on this throne! The emperor was embarrassed that he could not see the fabric, so he said, "That is simply the most magnificent fabric I have ever seen."
Go to the next page to find out what happened next.