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Year 3 Language and Literature

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

(Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen)

emperor's new clothes

There was once an emperor who loved fine clothes. He had a different coat for every hour of the day. He loved to walk about and show off his fancy outfits. One day two strangers arrived in town. They were thieves but they said they were weavers. They told the emperor they could weave the most beautiful cloth in the world. They told him it was a magic cloth, because only the most intelligent people could see it.

The emperor gave them a lot of money and told them to begin weaving the magic cloth right away. Day and night the two men pretended to be weaving. But they had nothing at all on their looms. The emperor grew curious to see the cloth. But then he remembered that only intelligent people could see it. What if he could not see it? Just to be safe, he sent his prime minister instead.

The prime minister found the two men hard at work. 'Do you like the cloth?' they asked. 'Isn't it beautiful?' The prime minister did not dare to admit that he could not see any cloth. That would mean he was stupid! So he pretended to see the cloth. He said it was beautiful.

Now the emperor went to look for himself. After all, if his prime minister had seen the cloth, surely he could see it, too. But the emperor saw nothing on the looms. 'This is terrible!' he thought. 'Am I stupid?' But out loud he said: 'It is magnificent!' He told the weavers to make him a new suit out of that cloth as soon as possible. For days, the dishonest weavers pretended to cut and sew their invisible cloth. All those who saw them pretended to admire their work, for they did not wish to appear stupid.

At last the day came for the emperor to wear his new clothes in public. In his dressing room, the emperor took off his clothes, and the weavers pretended to help him put on the make-believe clothes. The emperor looked at himself in the mirror.

'How handsome you look, your majesty!' said the cunning weavers.

The emperor stepped out of the palace, followed by many courtiers and servants. The streets were lined with great crowds. Everyone said: 'The emperor's new clothes are lovely! How well they fit!' No one would admit he or she could see nothing, for no one wanted to appear stupid.

But then a little child cried out: 'He hasn't got anything on!'

A hush fell over the crowd. Then everyone began to whisper: 'The child is right. The emperor isn't wearing a thing!' Then people began to giggle and laugh as they cried out: 'He hasn't got anything on!' At last the emperor knew he had been tricked. He tried to march back in to the palace as proudly as ever. But he was blushing from head to toe, as everyone could plainly see.

This activity is adapted from pages 20 - 21 of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here. This activity has connections: click below to see the related activity.

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