92 THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
and then they named the colours, and explained the strange pattern. The old minister listened attentively, that he might be able to repeat it when he went back to the emperor. And he did so.
Now the cheats asked for more money, and more silk and gold, which they declared they wanted for weaving. They put all into their own pockets, and not a thread was put upon the loom ; but they continued to work at the empty frames as before.
The emperor soon sent again, dispatching another honest statesman, to see how the weaving was going on, and if the stuff would soon be ready. He fared just like the first: he looked and looked, but, as there was nothing to be seen but the empty looms, he could see nothing.
' Is not that a pretty piece of stuff ? ' asked the two cheats ; and they displayed and explained the handsome pattern which was not there at all.
' I am not stupid ! ' thought the man—' it must be my good office, for which I am not fit. It is funny enough, but I must not let it be noticed.' And so he praised the stuff which he did not see, and expressed his pleasure at the beautiful colours and the charming pattern. * Yes, it is enchanting,' he said to the emperor.
All the people in the town were talking of the gorgeous stuff. The emperor wished to see it himself while it was still upon the loom. With a whole crowd of chosen men, among whom were also the two honest statesmen who had already been there, he went to the two cunning cheats, who were now weaving with might and main without fibre or thread.
* Is that not splendid ? ' said the two old statesmen, who had already been there once. * Does not your majesty remark the pattern and the colours ? ' And then they pointed to the empty loom, for they thought that the others could see the stuff.
* What's this ? ' thought the emperor. ' I can see nothing at all! That is terrible. Am I stupid ? Am I not fit to be emperor ? That would be the most dreadful thing that could happen to me.—Oh, it is very pretty !' he said aloud. ' It has our exalted approbation.' And he nodded in a contented way, and gazed at the empty