Learn English – A Fairy Tale – The Emperor’s New Clothes

I love to listen to stories! Makes me feel like a happy child. So enjoy this tale along with your students. At the end I invite you to offer your ending. Enter into some creative play and have fun.

T – Fairytale 2 – The Emperor’s New Clothes – 12 July 2019

Hey there. This is Maria from English without Fear. Today I’m going to tell you a story, a fairy tale about an emperor who is like a king, an emperor who had no clothes. So, sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can.

Yes, this is a story written by Hans Christian Anderson a long, long time ago and it goes like this. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived an emperor. The emperor was the ruler of a kingdom. And one day two men who knew how to sew clothes came to the emperor’s palace and they said to him,

“Oh, Emperor, you are so handsome! And we are expert tailors. We make clothes just for famous people like you. May we sew and make you a special set of clothes fit, suitable only for a wise emperor like you?”

Wow! The emperor was very flattered. He said,

“Of course! Please! I would like new clothes that are made by good, clever tailors like you.”

And so the tailors started to do the work. 

But they said one thing which worried the emperor. They said,

“These clothes are fit, are suitable for only wise, smart, powerful rulers like you. But if a person is not wise, if a person is not smart or if a person doesn’t know how to do their work well, then the clothes will be invisible to them. They will not be able to see the clothes.”

Well, this worried the emperor because he liked to think that he was smart, powerful, wise, the best. 

The tailors began to work and each time the emperor went to check on the clothes, he couldn’t see them, but he pretended. He acted as though he could see them. And when the tailors, the men sewing the clothes, would point out different details, he would act as if he could see them. He would pretend. He did not want the tailors to think he was stupid. 

Well, this went on for several months. Finally, the day came when the clothes were ready. Everybody in the kingdom, all the people, knew about the tailors and the clothes they were sewing for the emperor.

And they also knew that if you are not smart, if you are not wise, if you were not strong, if you were not able to work and do your job well, then you could not see the clothes. 

The morning arrived. The emperor went to the tailor’s place where they were sewing in the palace and he put on the clothes. They helped him get dressed in the invisible clothes. He pretended like he was stepping into the clothes. He pretended that they were buttoning him up, that they were adjusting the clothes. But he couldn’t see anything.

And when the tailors said, 

“Oh, you look so good!”, he acted as if “Yes, thank you. I look so good.”

Well. then he left the palace and he got on a horse naked without any clothes. And the parade for the emperor, the parade that would show the emperor and his new clothes, went from the palace into the town.

All the people of the kingdom were there watching. And when the king rode by in the parade naked, not wearing the clothes, but pretending to wear the clothes, acting as if he were wearing the clothes, all the people cheered and applauded and said to one another, 

“Oh, doesn’t the emperor look fine! Don’t his new clothes look great!” 

Well, the emperor was worried because he saw that the people could see his clothes. At least he thought they could see his clothes. And he felt stupid.

But then something happened. There was a little boy, six or seven years old, in the crowd of people with his mommy. And he looked at the emperor on the horse and he said, in a loud voice,

“Mommy, why is the emperor naked? Why is he not wearing any clothes?”

And all the people went silent and the king went silent.

Well, what happened next? I don’t know. The story ends there. What did the two tailors do, who had pretended to sew the clothes? They had been paid money, but what did they do? Well, why don’t you tell me how you would continue the story? What do you think the little boy did? What did the emperor do? What did the people do and what did the two tailors do?


2 thoughts on “Learn English – A Fairy Tale – The Emperor’s New Clothes”

  1. Hi Maria! Thank you for your wonderful work, for the great stories. They are really helpful to me as a CI teacher.
    I have a question. Have you got a list of the, say, ten top stories that everyone might be familiar with so you could safely tell them in a new language, supported with the appropriate gestures, etc, knowing that your audience will understand close to 100 percent of the story? It’d be great to start with those stories. Ten is just a number I made up; the list might run to a smaller number of items if you like.

    1. Boros – what an intriguing idea! I’ve never been one to stick to the same routine. In my French classes I’ve enjoyed finding stories that would hook my students. There was a true story last year that ‘went viral’ about a 6-year old girl whose mom let her pick out a Barbie doll from Amazon for her birthday, using her mom’s laptop or phone. The girl went back, with permission, to check on the delivery date and decided to order some clothes and accessories for her Barbie. Amazon delivered not only the one Barbie doll her mother knew about, but 3 cartons of clothes. My students loved that because it was true! With adult learners of English, I sometimes tell adventures that have happened to me or ask them questions about themselves. Everything I say in English I make comprehensible. How do you structure your Hungarian classes?

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