Guide Hans Christian Andersens Fairy Tales [Annotated]

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In her most ambitious annotated work to date, Maria Tatar celebrates the stories told by Denmark's "perfect wizard" and re-envisions Hans Christian Andersen as .
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The annotated Hans Christian Andersen

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Comment on this Story. Can it be, that I am unfit for my office? No, that must not be said either. I will never confess that I could not see the stuff. The old minister listened attentively to their words, in order that he might repeat them to the Emperor; and then the knaves asked for more silk and gold, saying that it was necessary to complete what they had begun.

However, they put all that was given them into their knapsacks; and continued to work with as much apparent diligence as before at their empty looms. The Emperor now sent another officer of his court to see how the men were getting on, and to ascertain whether the cloth would soon be ready. It was just the same with this gentleman as with the minister; he surveyed the looms on all sides, but could see nothing at all but the empty frames. That is very odd; however, no one shall know anything about it.

And now the Emperor himself wished to see the costly manufacture, while it was still in the loom.

Accompanied by a select number of officers of the court, among whom were the two honest men who had already admired the cloth, he went to the crafty impostors, who, as soon as they were aware of the Emperor's approach, went on working more diligently than ever; although they still did not pass a single thread through the looms. What a splendid design! What glorious colors! This is indeed a terrible affair!

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Am I a simpleton, or am I unfit to be an Emperor? That would be the worst thing that could happen—Oh!

The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen The Annotated Books

All his retinue now strained their eyes, hoping to discover something on the looms, but they could see no more than the others; nevertheless, they all exclaimed, "Oh, how beautiful! The Emperor shared in the general satisfaction; and presented the impostors with the riband of an order of knighthood, to be worn in their button-holes, and the title of "Gentlemen Weavers.

They pretended to roll the cloth off the looms; cut the air with their scissors; and sewed with needles without any thread in them. Here is the scarf! Here is the mantle! The whole suit is as light as a cobweb; one might fancy one has nothing at all on, when dressed in it; that, however, is the great virtue of this delicate cloth. What colors! These are indeed royal robes! The lords of the bedchamber, who were to carry his Majesty's train felt about on the ground, as if they were lifting up the ends of the mantle; and pretended to be carrying something; for they would by no means betray anything like simplicity, or unfitness for their office.

So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital; and all the people standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, "Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs! Certainly, none of the Emperor's various suits, had ever made so great an impression, as these invisible ones. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.

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by Andersen, Hans Christian

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