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KS3 English - Fairy tales: What's their story?: The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes

On this page you can find out more about the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.

The story of The Emperor's New Clothes

You can read Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Emperor's New Clothes on the SurLaLune website.

The Emperor's New Clothes and Similar Stories

This fairy tale site, compiled by Pittsburgh University, includes Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Emperor's New Clothes. You can also find a number of fairy tales which are similar to the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. You may find useful information here for your Emperor's New Clothes timeline.

Take part in our poll...

Different people see different moral messages in the Snow White tale, below are a few examples.


Think about the story of  the Emperor's New Clothes, which of these do you  think is the main moral lesson for this story?

Think for yourself


Remember, we're all human


Don't be vain

Take part in our poll...
Think for yourself - don't feel pressured or scared into going along with things that you know aren't right.: 67 votes (42.41%)
We're all human - clothes, money or a title don't make a person any better than anyone else and we all make mistakes.: 10 votes (6.33%)
Don't be vain about how you look - the emperor was so keen to look good he ended up making himself look much worse!: 81 votes (51.27%)
Total Votes: 158

Elements of the Story

As explained in the 'Conventions of fairy tales' section, a fairy story always includes a number of important elements. In the story of The Emperor's New Clothes the elements include: 



In the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, the good character is the Emperor.



The bad characters in this story are the weavers who fool the Emperor into thinking he is wearing clothes.



Can you think of any supporting characters in this story?



Magic features in this story as the invisible fabric which foolish people cannot see.



A fairy tale usually includes an obstacle or task which the characters must tackle with to reach their happy ending.  Can you think of the obstacle or task which the Emperor has to overcome?


Do you think this story has a happily ever ending?  Some versions finish with the Emperor holding his head up high and the crowd, seeing his courage, cheer and shout "Long live the Emperor!"  Hans Christian Andersen's version does not have this ending though, do you think his story ends 'happily ever after'



What do you think is the moral message of the Emperor's New Clothes story?  Read some suggestions in the left hand column and then vote for the moral which you think is the main lesson of this tale.  When you have voted, have a look and see what other people think.

Movie Trailer - The Emperor's New Clothes (1987)