Narrators 1, 2, and 3 (N1, N2, N3)
Nobles 1, 2, and 3
Tailors 1 and 2
Who will tell the truth about the Emperor’s new outfit?
Learning Objective: As students read this fairy tale adaptation, they will identify the theme of being unafraid to speak the truth.
Narrator 1: A group of nobles are chatting. Suddenly, a trumpet blares. The room goes quiet.
N2: The Emperor enters wearing a yellow robe covered in jewels.
N3: The nobles bow.
Emperor: How do I look?
All (clapping): Ooh . . . aah . . . ooh!
N1: The Emperor sees himself in a mirror and smiles.
Noble 1 (whispering): The Emperor sure loves his fancy clothes.
Noble 2 (whispering): Well, nothing matters more to him than how he looks.
Noble 3 (whispering): It’s true. He’s very vain.
Royal Aide (to himself): I worry that could get him into trouble.
The Palace Gate
N2: Off to the side, two people speak quietly.
Tailor 1: I hear the Emperor spends a fortune on his clothing.
Tailor 2: I’m told he spends more time getting dressed than he does ruling the kingdom.
Tailor 1: If he cares that much about his looks, he’ll be easy to trick. We’ll be rich!
N3: The tailors go up to the palace gate.
Guard: Stop! What do you want?
Tailor 2: We can weave the most incredible clothes.
Tailor 1: The fabric is very special. It can’t be seen by those who are fools.
Tailor 2: Your Emperor will want to know about this.
Guard: Wait here.
N1: The guard goes inside to tell the Royal Aide.
The Throne Room
Royal Aide (chuckling): Your Majesty, there are two tailors outside. They say they can weave a cloth that fools cannot see.
Emperor: Really? Bring them in.
Royal Aide: Clearly it’s nonsense.
Emperor (annoyed): Why don’t you trust them?
Royal Aide: I am being sensible.
Emperor: Well, I need a new outfit. This cloth sounds perfect.
Royal Aide: But . . .
Emperor: Bring me the tailors!
The Emperor's Bedroom
N2: The tailors measure the Emperor.
Tailor 1: Your Majesty, when you wear these new clothes, you will be admired by all who are worthy.
Tailor 2: And if people cannot see your outfit, you will know they are fools.
Tailor 1: Just think, you will be the first to have clothes like these.
Tailor 2: We have only offered this cloth to you.
Emperor: That settles it. Royal Aide, pay these tailors whatever they ask.
N3: The tailors give each other a sneaky smile.
Emperor: Now I will be remembered as the best-dressed emperor of all.
Royal Aide: Your Majesty, I fear that you will be remembered as a fool.
Emperor: How dare you insult me!
Royal Aide: Can’t you see what is happening?
Emperor: Get out!
The Emperor's Bedroom, the next day
N1: The tailors spend all night in the sewing room.
N2: Then they rush in with their arms stretched out in front of them. They’re carrying imaginary clothes.
Tailors 1 and 2: We’re here! We’re here!
N3: The Emperor looks around, confused.
Emperor: Where are my clothes?
Tailor 1: You can’t see? We’re holding them up.
N1: The Emperor nearly faints. He has a scared look on his face.
Emperor (to himself): I see nothing. But I cannot say that!
Tailor 2: Do you like them?
N2: The Emperor quickly smiles and nods.
Emperor: Of course I do! You are true artists!
Tailor 1: Put them on. The cloth is so lightweight, you will barely feel it.
N3: The Emperor undresses. The tailors hold out imaginary pants for him to step into.
N1: They dress him in an imaginary jacket. They put an imaginary robe over his shoulders.
Royal Dresser: A perfect fit.
N2: The Emperor looks in a large mirror and turns around slowly.
Royal Dresser: Yes!
Emperor (relieved): Yes. I look gorgeous.
N3: The people of the kingdom line the streets.
Guard: Step back! You will all have a chance to see the Emperor’s new clothes—unless, of course, you’re a fool. Then you won’t see them at all.
N1: The gate opens and the Emperor comes out.
N2: He is wearing only his crown and underpants.
N3: The crowd is shocked as the Emperor walks down the road.
N1: At first, there is silence. Then a few people clap. Soon, the whole crowd cheers.
All: Hooray! Hooray!
Subject 1: What a wonderful outfit!
Subject 2: Such bright colors!
N2: Just then, a small child points up.
Child: Look! The Emperor has no clothes!
N3: No one can believe he said it.
N1: Suddenly everyone laughs.
All: Hahahaha! Hahahaha! Hahahaha!
N2: The Emperor runs inside the gate where the nobles stand. Their faces are red with shame.
Emperor: Those tailors tricked me! Get the Royal Aide. NOW!
N3: The nobles bring him over.
Emperor: I truly am a fool. Why didn’t you stop me?
Royal Aide: I tried, but you wouldn’t listen.
Emperor: Other than that child, you were the only person brave enough to tell the truth.
Royal Aide: I’d rather be hated for being honest than loved for lying.
Emperor: From now on, I would like you to be my chief adviser.
Royal Aide: Of course!
Emperor: And for your first job . . .
Royal Aide: Yes?
Emperor: Bring me some pants.
Share this template of a classic stage with your students, and ask them to draw the stage for one scene of the play. Which will they pick? How will they imagine the palace or the streets of the kingdom?
In the play, almost everyone is afraid to speak up. Help your students learn about peer pressure and the importance of speaking up with this video.
Your students will love seeing this classic story come to life in this 12-minute animated version. After watching, make a list of how the video version is different from the play. Do you think the Emperor learns the same lesson?
More About the Article
Social-emotional learning: Responsible decision-making (analyzing situations, solving problems); relationship skills (communication); selfawareness (accurate selfperception)
Theme, key details, character traits, plot, compare and contrast, making inferences, text features, drawing conclusions, interpreting text, explanatory writing
1. PREPARING TO READ
Set a Purpose for Reading (10 minutes)
Introduce Vocabulary (15 minutes)
2. FOCUS ON FLUENCY
Bridging Decoding and Comprehension
3. CLOSE READING
Close-Reading Questions (30 minutes)
Critical-Thinking Question (10 minutes)
4. SKILL BUILDING
Exploring the Big Idea (30 minutes)
Divide your class into groups and assign each group a scene from the play to perform in class. As students practice their lines, remind them to reinforce their fluency skills by paying attention to stage directions and punctuation marks in the dialogue. Groups can add background music or make simple props for different characters. Ask each group to perform its scene in class.
Read the play aloud as students follow along in their magazines. Ask students to look for details that describe what the Emperor and his Royal Aide do at the beginning (Scenes 1-3), in the middle (Scene 4–5), and at the end of the play. Ask students to share their details.
Ask students to write a first-person journal entry describing what happens when the Emperor wears his “new clothes” for the first time. The journal can be written from the point of view of the Emperor, the child, or the Royal Aide. Invite students to read their journals aloud in small groups.