The King’s New Robe
Once upon a time, a vain and foolish King ruled the people. Despite his vanity and low IQ, those around him fawned over him, kissing his butt, and praising his lame policies as if they were brilliant and original. The King - a sucker for praise and approval - believed all of the fawning toadies who surrounded him, and he had no doubt that he was as brilliant as everyone said.
One day, the foolish King said to his Court Sorceress, “A wise king like me needs to be surrounded by wise people. Devise a method whereby I can instantly tell if the person who seeks to give me advice is as wise as I am.”
The Court Sorceress, who was a big a trickster as the King was a fool, said, “I shall go to my laboratory in the tower and will return tomorrow with the solution to your problem, O King wiser than Solomon and brighter than the sun.”
On the next day, the Court Sorceress returned to the King and said, “Here, as you can see better than anyone, is a resplendent set of garments so beautiful that only you, O Great One, can wear them. Now listen closely, O Mighty Sovereign. These garments are magical because they are made from Wisdom itself, not cloth or leather. Though you can plainly see the garments, they cannot be seen by foolish or stupid people. To the fool, these garments are invisible. To the wise - who see the truth of all things - these garments are clearly and plainly visible!”
The Sorceress saw a maid polishing furniture in the corner of the room. “Come here, woman,” she commanded. “What do you see in my hands?”
The maid scurried to the Sorceress, startled at being acknowledged for the first time by a person of importance. “Why, nothing, Ma’am. Your hands are completely empty.”
The Sorceress beamed at the King. “So, you see, Sire, the foolish and uneducated are unable to behold the magnificence of these garments. These garments are made from wisdom itself. Fools, who are unable to see wisdom cannot see it.”
With a flick of her finger, she dismissed the maid as if she were a booger.
The King immediately stripped naked and put on the new and fabulous garments. He sent word that all of the members of his court should assemble immediately in the Great Hall. When they were gathered, the Sorceress appeared in a puff of smoke and explained the nature of the garments to the royal court. She assured them that any member of the court who could not see the King’s resplendent new garments would be summarily banned from the King’s presence and stripped of all rank, privilege, and wealth. When the King entered, completely naked, members of the court applauded and praised his new clothing, gasping in astonishment at the beauty of the colors and the design.
“But the King is naked!” exclaimed the maid, forgetting - in her astonishment - to keep her mouth shut and her eyes down. Those who heard her remark rolled their eyes and winked at each other. The poor maid, like all commoners, was far too stupid to behold the King’s grand new robes of wisdom.
The Sorceress was overwhelmed with orders for Wisdom Clothing from all the members of the royal court. Many gold coins were pressed into her ever-extended palm. No matter how many orders she received, the Sorceress delivered the new Wisdom Clothing the very next day to each person who had paid her. Eventually the entire court was clad only in wisdom clothing. Everyone in the court ridiculed the common people, who walked around clad only in cloth and leather, not wisdom.
The Sorceress announced at about this time that she had received magical summons through her crystal ball to join a team of God’s most powerful sorcerers and sorceresses, who were joining together to defeat a powerful dragon that was terrorizing a faraway unspecified country. She quickly left with all her belongings, vowing to return as soon as the dragon was dead. (She never returned. It was assumed that she had been killed by the dragon.)
“But they are all naked!” exclaimed the maid, over and over, to anyone who would listen to her.
“Even my maids need to be smarter than that stupid bitch,” said the King. “Get rid of her!”
The elderly maid was frog-marched to the back door of the castle, thrown to the muddy earth, and told never to return.
Her fat husband and her selfish children were furious with her for losing her palace job. It had provided them with a significant income and considerable status among the other peasants in the village.
“But they were all naked ... bare-ass naked, butt-naked, naked as newborn babes!” protested the sobbing former maid over and over as she dabbed her black eye with a cold cloth.
“You stupid cow!” said her peasant husband, who had never seen the King or been in the palace. “Do you think you are smarter than the whole court?”
He smacked her again and walked out of the room in disgust.