Longer Narrative Poems
By Josie Whitehead
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
(Based on a Hans Anderson's Fairy Story)
By Josie Whitehead
Hands up all those who like new clothes - yes, new clothes every day?
And tell me what you most prefer: New clothes or friends and play?
There was a man who’d disagree - an emperor, of course –
And pay his servants? No, no, no – nor buy food for his horse.
Feed his children? Not at all, and his wife went hungry too –
But spend, spend, spend on lots of clothes: what could his family do?
One day you’d see him dressed in blue: the next, he’d be in red,
And then he’d choose a nice green suit, or gold perhaps instead.
Two swindlers came to town one day who claimed to make fine cloth,
But what they said and what they did incurred their clients’ wrath.
‘We weave the finest cloth,’ they said. ‘Most smart folk will agree,
But only those with brains in heads are people who will see.’
All stupid, silly, brainless folk won’t see the clothes we make,
But brilliant people – those with brains – will see them - no mistake!
The emperor heard of this, of course: ‘Their clothes will suit me fine,
And I’ll host a party, wearing them. Come order food and wine.’
The day arrived, the clothes came too, and quickly they were seized.
The invisible suit well suited him, and for certain he was pleased.
I’ll soon discover who are fools and those who’re truly wise.
I’ll sort out those I’ll trust the most and those that I’ll despise.
The swindlers banked a handsome sum, and the emperor looked absurd
But, not wishing to appear a fool, he uttered not one word.
He set off in his golden coach, they drove along the street,
And, sitting nude, he waved his hand to all that he did meet.
The party guests came one by one and whispered in alarm,
But not one person said a word for fear they’d come to harm.
The emperor’s children then arrived and told their Dad the truth.
They little thought he might be cross – hmm! - the innocence of youth!
When Daddy heard just what they said, he disappeared at speed,
For anything his children said for certain he would heed.
The moral of this story is: Which people are most wise?
It’s children, just like you, of course, for children don’t tell lies!
hmmm! Do they?
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