Once upon a time there was a wise Emperor who was much loved by his subjects and he returned that love through ruling wisely and evenly.
Into this peaceful empire journeyed a couple of merchants vending wares of extraordinary luxury and mystery. The Emperor, upon learning of these two traders demanded they appear before him. When they presented themselves before the Emperor he demanded to see their most luxurious and mysterious object.
The tall slim merchant looked uncertainly at his shorter colleague who was already smiling confidently. “Your Royal Highness!” fawned the shorter of the pair, “We have a magnificent magical cloak that only the stupid cannot see!”
The Emperor demanded to see the cloak. The diminutive merchant gestured to his partner to open their most ornate trunk. With his colleague holding open the trunk lid the smiling merchant reached in and appeared to be draping an ornate cloak over his arms. When he turned to face the Emperor he offered,”Your Royal Highness, this is the cloak of which I speak. You no doubt notice the intricate embroidery and exquisite fabric!” The Emperor looked around uncertainly before exclaiming, “Of course! This is some of the finest needle work I have ever seen!” Soon the entire court was praising the beauty and majesty of the exotic cloak.
The Emperor gladly paid the merchants a handsome price for the magical cloak. The entire court praised the Emperor for his exquisite purchase and the Emperor glowed with pride. One of the more senior courtiers suggested the Emperor display his new cloak to his subjects publicly and the Emperor agreed that this would be a marvellous idea.
So it came to pass that the day arrived for the Emperor to appear in public in his beautiful new cloak. The crowd in the courtyard was abuzz with anticipation as rumours of this magnificent magical garment had swept through the empire. The Emperor, followed by his Queen and most favoured courtiers, strode onto his balcony overlooking the courtyard wearing nothing but his beautiful new cloak.
The crowd fell silent, yet soon there were gasps of astonishment and cries of admiration until silence once more descended on the assembled mass. Then from the very back of the crowd a plaintive voice belonging to a small boy was heard to exclaim, “ But the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes!”
Rumblings swept through the crowd, the Emperor's guards snarled, the courtiers jeered, the Queen fainted, but the wise, beloved, Emperor just smiled. Soon the Emperor began to laugh, the Queen recovered and began to giggle, the courtiers soon joined in followed by the guards and soon the entire crowd.
Wiping tears of mirth from his eyes the Emperor held his up his hands for silence.
And in his wisdom. And out of love for his people the Emperor decreed that from this day forth stupidity should become a capital offence.
And the little boy was summarily put to death on the spot.
And from that day forth nobody throughout the empire was so stupid they could not see the Emperor's beautiful new cloak.
And according to intensive polling, focus groups and scientific surveys carried out by the empires most reputable market researchers, at least 80% of the population (with a margin of error of + or – 3% ) lived, relatively, happily ever after.