How I Learned to Listen to the Smallest Voices

I’m a snob, I know.

Not when it comes to people, I hope. Show me some sad dude on death row, and I’ll find his or her strengths, those hidden gifts that were lost on the way.

Emperors New Clothes Lesson

 I’ll return to the snob comment, but in the meantime I wanna just give a shout out to one of my favorite children’s stories: The Emperor’s New Clothes. I love the story. I love the punchline where it is a small child who shouts what no one else dares: “But he’s not wearing anything but his underwear!” I’m sure The Emperor’s New Clothes is one of the stories that has deeply influenced my life, one of the tomes that allows me to see the strengths and gifts of a pompous king or that sad dude or dudette on death row. The Emperor’s New Clothes must be one of the narrations that has led me to respect Eco-feminism and at least listen to voices that may or may not be speaking the truth.

Just recently, I remembered that The Emperor’s New Clothes was originally penned by the great storyteller Hans Christian Anderson (based on Aesop and others). Just recently, I admitted that there are several renditions of the story, beautifully penned and illustrated. My reluctance in remembering and admitting is because, regardless of these facts, I will always think of Goofy and Disney characters when I think of The Emperor’s New Clothes. That’s the version I grew up reading. That’s what I asked for night after night as a bedtime story. That’s the copy I just found for sale on the internet. (Yes, I bought Disney’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, of course I did.)

Disneys Emperors New Clothes

But where’s its literary quality? Umm, I don’t know. How did Disney’s The Emperor’s New Clothes lead to me reading other Hans Christian Anderson tales? It didn’t really. Why didn’t I find another edition that has gorgeous illustrations and words of literary merit?… Those are the questions I wonder, because sometimes…

I’m a snob when it comes to children’s books. But the fact is, I loved Disney’s The Emperor’s New Clothes then, and I love Disney’s The Emperor’s New Clothes still today. Go figure. And Goofy and friends still got old Hans’ message to me. To them and all the other literary-knock-offs, Thank You Very Much! You are one of the many positive influences in my life.

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