The Emperor’s New Crowd

A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except the adulation of crowds hires advisors who promise him the finest, best crowds that are invisible to anyone who is either unpatriotic or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s advisors cannot see the crowds themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions. Finally, the advisors report that the crowd is assembled, and the Emperor marches in procession before the invisible subjects. The princes and courtiers play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions. Then, a small child, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor has tiny crowds, and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor denies the assertion, sends his spokesperson to attack the child’s credibility, and angrily repeats the lie in multiple national interviews.

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