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Story about sincerity and truth: Emperor's New Cloth

Story about sincerity and truth: Emperor's New ClothIn the modern world, sincerity is the elusive virtue of speaking truly about one's feelings, thoughts and desires. Sincere expression carries risks to the speaker, since the ordinary screens used in everyday life are opened to the outside world. At the same time, we expect our friends, our lovers, our leaders to be sincere. It is an earnest and sincere feeling. It is a quality of naturalness and simplicity. It is the quality of being open and truthful; not deceitful or hypocritical.

This story can be used to motivate people to be sincere towards their friends and relatives, towards their life and their work and most importantly towards their goals in life as sincerity goes a long way in determining whether you will be successful or not.

Many, many years ago lived an emperor, who was so exceedingly fond of fine new clothes that he spent vast sums of money and energy on dress; his only ambition was to be always well dressed. He did not care for his soldiers and the theatre did not amuse him; the only thing, in fact, he thought anything of was to drive out and show a new suit of clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, so one could say of him, 'Emperor is in his dressing-room.'

The great city where he resided was very gay; every day many strangers from all parts of the globe arrived. One day two swindlers came to this city; they made people believe that they were weavers and declared they could manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined. Their colours and patterns, they said, were not only exceptionally beautiful, but the clothes made of their material possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.

'That must be wonderful cloth,' thought the emperor. 'If I were to be dressed in a suit made of this cloth I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places and I could distinguish the clever from the stupid. I must have this cloth woven for me without delay.' And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two looms, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatever on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the most precious gold-cloth; all they got they take away with, and worked at the empty looms till late at night.

'I should very much like to know how they are getting on with the cloth,' thought the emperor. But he felt rather uneasy when he remembered that he who was not fit for his office could not see it. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood. Everybody in the town knew what a remarkable quality the stuff possessed, and all were anxious to see how bad or stupid their neighbours were.

'I shall send my honest old minister to the weavers,' thought the emperor. 'He can judge best how the stuff looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.'

The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty looms. 'Heaven preserve us!' he thought, and opened his eyes wide, 'I cannot see anything at all,' but he did not say so. Both swindlers requested him to come near, and asked him if he did not admire the exquisite pattern and the beautiful colours, pointing to the empty looms. The poor old minister tried his very best, but he could see nothing, for there was nothing to be seen. 'Oh dear,' he thought, 'can I be so stupid? I should never have thought so, and nobody must know it! Is it possible that I am not fit for my office? No, no, I cannot say that I was unable to see the cloth.'

'Now, have you got nothing to say?' said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily weaving.

'Oh, it is very pretty, exceedingly beautiful,' replied the old minister looking through his glasses. 'What a beautiful pattern, what brilliant colours! I shall tell the emperor that I like the cloth very much.'

'We are pleased to hear that,' said the two weavers, and described to him the colours and explained the curious pattern. The old minister listened attentively, that he might relate to the emperor what they said; and so he did.

Now the swindlers asked for more money, silk and gold-cloth, which they required for weaving. They kept everything for themselves, and not a thread came near the loom, but they continued, as hitherto, to work at the empty looms.

Soon afterwards the emperor sent another honest courtier to the weavers to see how they were getting on, and if the cloth was nearly finished. Like the old minister, he looked and looked but could see nothing, as there was nothing to be seen.

'Is it not a beautiful piece of cloth?' asked the two swindlers, showing and explaining the magnificent pattern, which, however, did not exist.

'I am not stupid,' said the man. 'It is therefore my good appointment for which I am not fit. It is very strange, but I must not let any one know it;' and he praised the cloth, which he did not see, and expressed his joy at the beautiful colours and the fine pattern. 'It is very excellent,' he said to the emperor.

Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious cloth. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the loom. With a number of courtiers, including the two who had already been there, he went to the two clever swindlers, who now worked as hard as they could, but without using any thread.

'Is it not magnificent?' said the two old statesmen who had been there before. 'Your Majesty must admire the colors and the pattern.' And then they pointed to the empty looms, for they imagined the others could see the cloth.

'What is this?' thought the emperor, 'I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I stupid? Am I unfit to be emperor? That would indeed be the most dreadful thing that could happen to me.'

'Really,' he said, turning to the weavers, 'your cloth has our most gracious approval;' and nodding contentedly he looked at the empty loom, for he did not like to say that he saw nothing. All his attendants, who were with him, looked and looked, and although they could not see anything more than the others, they said, like the emperor, 'It is very beautiful.' And all advised him to wear the new magnificent clothes at a great procession which was soon to take place. 'It is magnificent, beautiful, excellent,' one heard them say; everybody seemed to be delighted, and the emperor appointed the two swindlers 'Imperial Court weavers.'

The whole night previous to the day on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work, and burned more than sixteen candles. People should see that they were busy to finish the emperor's new suit. They pretended to take the cloth from the loom, and worked about in the air with big scissors, and sewed with needles without thread, and said at last: 'The emperor's new cloth is ready now.'

The emperor and all his barons then came to the hall; the swindlers held their arms up as if they held something in their hands and said: 'These are the trousers!' 'This is the coat!' and 'Here is the cloak!' and so on. 'They are all as light as a cobweb and one must feel as if one had nothing at all upon the body; but that is just the beauty of them.'

'Indeed!' said all the courtiers; but they could not see anything, for there was nothing to be seen.

'Does it please your Majesty now to graciously undress,' said the swindlers, 'that we may assist your Majesty in putting on the new suit before the large looking-glass?'

The emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put the new suit upon him, one piece after another; and the emperor looked at himself in the glass from every side.

'How well they look! How well they fit!' said all. 'What a beautiful pattern! What fine colors! That is a magnificent suit of clothes!'

The master of the ceremonies announced that the bearers of the canopy, which was to be carried in the procession, were ready.

'I am ready,' said the emperor. 'Does not my suit fit me marvelously?' Then he turned once more to the looking-glass, that people should think he admired his garments.

The chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stretched their hands to the ground as if they lifted up a train, and pretended to hold something in their hands; they did not like people to know that they could not see anything.

The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him in the street and out of the windows exclaimed: 'Indeed, the emperor's new suit is incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!' Nobody wished to let others know he saw nothing, for then he would have been unfit for his office or too stupid. Never emperor's clothes were more admired.

'But he has nothing on at all,' said a little child at last. 'Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child,' said the father and one whispered to the other what the child had said. 'But he has nothing on at all,' cried at last the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, 'Now I must bear up to the end.' And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.

Goodness and Truth shall always prevail

Goodness and Truth shall always prevailSurprisingly for Abbas, he was experiencing ambivalence when he finished his final year Engineering exam; on one hand he was delighted to complete his Engineering course while on the other hand the new challenge of finding a job for a fresh Engineering graduate like him, in the tough competitive environment was making him miserable. He had heard horror stories from his seniors, most of them were still unemployed and wandering around to get hired while few were forced to settle down in their ancestor's business. Unfortunately Abbas's father was a retired clerk, hence finding an appropriate job was the only option available at his disposal.

After finishing his exam, being pro-active he immediately started applying for fresh engineering jobs. Despite all the odds he could still see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. Within a couple of weeks he had responded to over fifty plus companies seeking fresh graduates. With no response to his application, he was slowly losing his hope but his strong faith kept him on his mission. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months with no luck, Abbas would check his mails regularly, only to find junk mails and bills in the mail box.

Abbas was getting anxious as his final year examination report was due any time now and how right he was, the following day he had received his result. To his utter dismay, he failed in one of his favorite subject. Abbas's mind now ran a hopeless Marathon. All of a sudden his world had just collapsed and the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the light of an oncoming train crashing the little hope he had. He no longer had any further interest to look for the response to his job application. He knew now, that he was not qualified even if he gets lucky in receiving the job interview letter.

The next day, Abbas's mom surprised him by giving him a sealed letter addressed to him. He curiously opened up to what turned out to be a response to his earlier job application. The letter was asking him to appear for a job interview. Abbas felt distressed, seeing this, his mother asked, "what is the matter Abbas?" He said, "the company I applied for job is inviting me for a job interview but I cannot attend". Abbas's mother knew that her son was not qualified for the job but still she insisted that he should appear for the interview and have the courtesy to convey his situation.

On the schedule interview day, Abbas without any interview preparation set out to convey his regret. He joined the many fresh applicants, waiting in the lobby for their interview. After few hours of waiting Abbas's name was called. Abbas stood up whispering to his neighbor "I won't be long" as he headed to the interview room.

Abbas greeted the elderly looking gentlemen who asked him to take a seat. Abbas sat down. The elderly gentleman introduced himself as Vikram Sinha, and then politely asked, "Your resume stated that you were waiting for your final result, is it declared yet"?

"Yes it is and unfortunately I failed in one subject" confessed Abbas.

Vikram's expression changed. A frown now stood where a smile was a few seconds earlier, "so what made you come for the interview?" demanded Vikram.

"Well, I thought I should at least drop by to let you know that I am now not qualified for this job" whispered Abbas.

"Were you expecting this disappointment?" queried Vikram.

"No, as a matter of fact this was one of my favorite subjects and I was over confident and that was my blunder" asserted Abbas.

"So you learned a lesson young man, didn't you" said Vikram.

"Yes, absolutely" replied Abbas.

"Now since you have come all the way for this interview would you mind if I pick your brain" asked Vikram.

"Not at all, please go ahead" replied Abbas.

The interview lasted for about an hour and at the end, Vikram said to Abbas: "Thank you for your time, we will let you know if you are selected".

As Abbas was walking down the street to the bus station, he said to himself "I would have made it only if I would have lied about my result instead of listening to my mom, she has no idea how difficult it is to find a job in this topsy-turvy world. From politicians to marketing's, from fortune tellers to any damn business, diplomacy and dishonesty is what makes the world go round. I shouldn't have let go this wonderful opportunity". Cursing himself, discouraged and dejected, Abbas returned home.

Few days later, Abbas's mom surprised him with yet another sealed letter, it was from the company that interviewed him. Without any hope and thinking it to be a straight regret letter, Abbas pulled out the letter, it said "we are pleased to welcome you on board as a Junior Engineer. We are highly impressed by your courage, sincerity, honesty and integrity and we look forward to working with you. Please accept this offer to join us immediately...

Tears welled up Abbas's eyes, streaming down his face as he hug his mother and said, "I made it, Mom you were right and you always will be, goodness and truth shall always prevail!"

I would prefer to be an honest failure than to be a corrupt success...

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Saturday, April 10, 2010