As a child we were entertained with reading fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Anderson and a wide variety of fantastic authors. Fairy Tales held some high moral ground like integrity, honesty, compassion and character which was a reoccurring theme and easily defined. Of course, we are now adults, and for the most part, know we can’t ride a magic carpet or sleep for 100 years…still we can take the lessons taught and apply it today.
One of my favorite tales was about an Emperor who loved to style. Hans Christian Anderson wove an intricate tale of a man who loved his clothes. One day two rogue designers came to the city, selling their ability to weave magnificent garments with the most unbelievable colors. Of course, the Emperor was intrigued and imagined himself arrayed in splendor. This was a “must” buy and commissioning of the suit began. He sent an officer of the court to examine the progress of his robes but, the looms were empty.
“Why there is nothing in the looms” thought the officer of the court.
The knaves, seeing the poor man was perplexed, invited him to look closer and examine the quality of the weave. Not wishing to look like a silly, he clapped his hands and exclaimed, “The Emperor will be so pleased.” The story progresses to the Emperor who in turn examined the clothing. Like the man before him, not wanting to look like a fool, is overjoyed at the quality of his new garments. He can hardly contain his excitement.
The Emperor undressed and the rogues began the task of fitting him with his new clothes. The procession through the city started and as the people stood and cried out “Indeed, the emperor’s new suit is incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!” Fearing to look like fools, not one of the Emperor’s subjects dared to consider the poor man was naked.
“But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last. Those standing on the street and looking out the windows exclaimed “The Emperor has no clothes.”
The Emperor knew he had been had by the swindlers, he knew the people saw him naked, yet with pride he continued the charade parade.
Now, there is plenty we can take from the 1837 fairy tale and apply it today. For example, we have a Commissioner who loves being green and loves spending your green. In 2009 a company came to Delaware County hawking the idea of wind powered streetlights and a magnificent wind vane. “Oh, the beauty of it all” said he looking at nothing and paying $1.5 million dollars for something very similar to the Emperor’s new clothes. All of the people danced in the streets applauding the purchase of nothing.
The Emperor purchased nothing with his own money. On the other hand, Delaware County purchased nothing with other people’s money.
The moral of the story….don’t be foolish and pretend there is something when it’s so obvious even a child understands there are NO new clothes, NO new wind vane, NO new jobs and NO more $1.5 million.