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The Emperor's New Clothes...Analyzed

This fairy tale is one of Hans Christian Andersen's. It is also one of those I like.  Most fairy tales are filled with unrealistic creatures, such as animals talking, or about a wood land nymph leaning against a giant mushroom on a bed of moss, or little wisps leading you through a haunted forest right to a pot of gold.  I like this one, because it depicts people so well. ( I also have a thing for "Horton Hears a Who" by Dr. Seuss, so I may not be the best judge. That's another subject for another time...)

I recently reread The Emperors New Clothes to Shaunti and was again made aware of peoples' weaknesses and how we in general, are not able to see ourselves for who we truly are.

The Emperors weakness was: He liked new clothes and he liked to wear them and show them off. Maybe he was insecure about things and this was his way of dealing with it.  I don't know, the story doesn't say. But, I recognize, we being people, have weaknesses like this as well.

Then, along came the swindlers.  These guys remind me of how the tempter, or satan, or the devil, whatever name you are comfortable using, is mentioned in the Bible.  The swindlers discovered the emperor's weakness and began to scheme how to take this man down.  They very cleverly devised a plan that was fairly nonnegotiable.  It was also a whopper of large proportions. They claimed they could make clothing that only worthy ones could see. Basically, if a person wasn't able to see these fine garments, they were unfit for the kingdom.  Again, like the devil, they operated by making threats to cause the Emperor to fear, and they were very convincing.

The Emperor is gullible, and he is lured.  He casts aside reason for fear of being counted unworthy.  He no longer trusts his own judgement, because he cannot see these clothes that he knows he is worthy of seeing.  He convinces himself that he will ask his trusted minister and courtiers; if they too cannot see these beautiful garments, then he will feel better about his unworthiness or at least he might know he's not the only one unworthy.

Instead, they join the game of pretending to keep up appearances, operating again out of fear.  They too don't want to admit they can't see the clothes; for they too want to be counted worthy and in use in the kingdom.

It takes a child. The blessed, lovely, brave child! One clear voice out of the crowds of dignitaries and common people, to say the truth, bluntly and boldly, "He has no clothes!" This regular kid isn't going to join in this nonsense and help it along, just because the adults lost their sense of direction.  He saw the situation clearly for what it was and put it into words, bluntly, boldly, and bravely.

People still do these things today.  We still get blinded by persuasive words.  We sometimes operate out of fear.  We can get caught up in what everyone else thinks is "worthy" instead of reading The Word and hearing the clear Voice of Truth, God 's Truth, that shines through human opinions, prejudices, or weaknesses.  We depend too much on what other people have written or studied and become lazy in doing it for ourselves.

I know there is the flip slide, that I need other peoples perspective to balance my own thinking. But mostly, we need a voice with clear direction, and that in my opinion, is best when heard straight from the Word of God.  I love those people in my life that speak their minds and give encouragement in the right direction, but the best advice I've ever been given yet, is what I glean, when reading my Bible.


 How does "Horton Hears a Who" speak to me?  It makes me reflect how I am only a speck on dandelion fluff and still, God talks to me and I can hear Him, if I only listen. How do I listen?  Of course, through reading His Word and letting the things of life He allows me to go through,  shape me into what He intends.


  1. And here I thought Horton Hears a Who was a bunch of nonsense. Although I've never read it, so how could I have made any judgment at all? Typical know it all issues, I guess.

    1. The movie is more moving than the actual read, but then if it seems like nonsense to you, I doubt you'll much care for that either.

  2. Arla, you make me laugh. I am enjoying this all very much. ~ Dawn


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