The One Who Cries Wolf

A/N: A sort-of mash-up retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by Aesop. Enjoy!

The two weavers had a secret.

They never told the truth. Truth ran through the veins of the honorable and virtuous. Lies and deceit rotted deep within the bones of fools.

So they lied.

And with these lies they wove a legend. “A cloth so fine only those worthy of wearing it may be allowed to witness its splendor.”

They didn’t cry wolf – only shouted their lie so perfect believers came running to them. With the lie feeding the followers, the two weavers had naught to do but let the others cry wolf for them. If the cry of wolf wore thin on the lips of their followers, they built a new lie and a new following.  Popularity of opinion carried a weight far greater than anything they could muster alone.

The weavers never revealed their hand, preferring to ignite the fear and awe in others and watch them imagine greatness where there was none. This was the law by which they lived, and it was the Common Rule for those other fools who worked in darkness.

A wolf cloaked in human skin would never be suspected, never be caught. This is what they cried in their hearts.

But they were only fooling themselves.

And this was their secret.

… … … …

The Emperor had a secret.

He was buried in self-deceit and lies. Layers and layers of invisible fabric rested heavily on his shoulders as he faced the doors leading into the city. His stomach roiled; the lie failed to calm his troubled soul.

He knew he would be exposed to his kingdom, but redemption required truth, and he wouldn’t admit his faults. He wouldn’t risk the control this lie gave him.

The weavers said naught a word, only asking the opinion of others.

And the approval flooded in.

Noblemen admired his prestige at a simple beckon. Citizens who heard of the clothes made by the two weavers lauded its glory. The cloth held the power, and the Emperor knew that by wearing the clothes, he remained in control.

As his retinue lifted the invisible train to start the procession, the Emperor held his arms out to the crowd. If he could live the lie perfectly – as though it was truth – his flock wouldn’t recognize him as anything different than he professed to be.

But he knew the transparency of his self-conviction.

And this was his secret.

… … … …

The boy had a secret.

The world was full of fools, and to him there was not a person more naked than he who denied it.

A few years later when he was a little older, the boy tended his flocks of sheep with the same care as the swindling weavers. And when he cried wolf, the believers came running. He threw his head back and laughed.

Look at me! Tell me. Who is the wolf? Who is the fool? Who are the sheep?”

He knew.

And this was his secret.

Copyright © 2017 Dante Morose



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