Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Saturday Fairy Tale

Far away and long ago lived an emperor who had no clothes. He strutted about butt-naked and his faithful sycophants all said that his clothes were marvelous indeed. This because the emperor had declared that anyone calling him naked was going to be sued for treason and was then going to be hanged from a lamppost in a public square until thoroughly dead.

The common people of the country could see that the emperor was naked (it was hard to avoid...), but they were too busy to hang off lampposts and too hungry to last through the torture that preceded the hangings. So they were mostly quiet and pretended to love the silk of the emperor's codpiece, too.

But one day a boy, dirty and hungry but clothed in something at least, saw the emperor's cavalcade drive by. The emperor stood up to pat the boy's bald head (the boy suffered from alopecia*) and suddenly the boy could see the emperor's bare nether parts.

"Hey, look at those peas-and-carrot! I've eaten bigger!" the boy shouted.

A silence fell, so deep that one could cut it with a table knife.

What happened next? Perhaps the scales fell off the eyes of the sycophants? Perhaps the naked emperor was tarred and feathered and chased out of his once-realm? No, sillies.

Everything went on just as before, except that the little boy was tortured and then sent to a secret prison for those who speak of peas and carrots in public.
*Alopecia: an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Not to be confused with philobaldia, the love of bald heads that some recent emperors have.