The king, a genial and popular fellow, kept constantly on the alert for the newest fashions. So when a team of shrewd tailors offered him a most stylish and attractive new suit — expensive, quite expensive, but absolutely de rigueur — the king was most interested. And when they added that this new outfit would be visible only to His Highness’ most sincerely devoted followers, he was sold. High-fashion threads and a test of loyalty, all in one swell suit. He handed them sacks full of money.
(That it was not his money but the people’s is irrelevant at this point in the story.)
After a persuasive session of fussing and finagling, the tailors declared the king ready to go, tip-top, and altogether fit and fine. The king and his retinue set off on a parade through the capital.
Millions lined the streets.
(That figure was provided by a spokesperson for the king but later called into question by outside observers)
Virtually every one of them reported being able to see the new suit, and each of them was most laudatory in describing it.
(Historians have discovered that there were, among those in the crowd, occasional disagreements on such details as fit, color, and texture of the fabric.)
Still, all were in general agreement. All, that is, save one young chap known to the authorities as a trouble maker. He stared, and stared, and finally announced to those around him that, “The king is naked.”
A hush fell on the crowd. People were stunned. They looked again at their king in his finery, and asked him to repeat his observation. The young fellow looked again, then turned to the crowd and said, “You nitwits, the king’s bare ass is hanging out.”
Well, that was enough. That did it. The crowd rose up as one, grabbed the young fellow, threw him outside the city gates, and warned him never to return.
MORAL: It’s good to be the king.