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The Emperor’s New Clothes — An adaptation

Instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, "The King's in council," here they always said. "The President is tweeting in his dressing room.”

Many years ago there was a President so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going to the Oval Office, except to show off. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The President is tweeting in his dressing room.”

He lived in a great city in a great country. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two Russian swindlers. They let it be known they were political weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent political fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes and policies made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the President. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts — which most are. And I could tell the smart ones from the fools because I certainly can’t tell one from the other on my own. Yes, I certainly must get some of this stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the Russian. swindlers a large sum of money under the table to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags that were secreted away in the dark net, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the President thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself because he never gave anything a second thought, yet he decided he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their NATO neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest Vice President to the weavers,” the President decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does my biddingbetter.”

So the Vice President went to the room where the Russian swindlers sat working away at their empty looms. “Fake news again,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all.” But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers – and most persuasively, the Chief Swindler Putin — begged him to be so kind as to come and meet in Helsinki to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the Vice President stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? Not a soul must know. Am I unfit? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said the chief swindler.

“Oh, it’s beautiful — it’s enchanting.

“Such a pattern, what colors!

I’ll be sure to tell the President how delighted I am with it.”

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more promises, more assurances, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets and into the coffers to finance the tilting of the next elections. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The President presently sent his consort Melania to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. She looked and looked but there was nothing to see.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” Putin asked her, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” she thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of being First Lady. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out.” So she praised the material she did not see. To the President she said, “It held me spellbound. We can’t put a tariffon these fabrics.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and Trump wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, he set out on Air Force One to meet with the swindlers. He found them weaving but without a thread in their looms.,

“Magnificent,” said the two officials. “Just look, President Trump, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Trump. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible! Am I a fool? What a thing to happen to me of all people!”

“Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

All joined the President in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear the clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the greatest of all processions he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased so as to not be fired.

“Now Trump’s new clothes are ready for him,” the chief swindler exclaimed in an off-stage whisper.

Then the President himself came with his noblest posse, and the swindler raised an arm as if he were holding something. He said, “These are the trousers and here’s the coat,” he said, naming each garment. “It’s so fine you can barely feel it against your skin.”

“Exactly!” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty Trump will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindler, “I will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror and every television station throughout the world

President Trump undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another.

“How well your new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” the President heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit. Look how the golden thread matches your hair!”

The Presidentturned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

So off went Trump in procession. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection?” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child from Western Massachusetts said. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

At last everyone’s eyes were open to the truth.

The President shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he began tweeting madly about how perfect, true and glorious… his new cloths were. He walked more proudly and awkwardly than ever.His noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all as they whispered to each other, wondering if they could salvage democracy from this broken house of mirrors.

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