EsEm ruled over a kingdom of (once) happy animals. He crowed like a cockerel about being the boss. He pretended to be brave and knowledgeable and many of the kingdom’s inhabitants were mightily fooled.
“Look at our master”, they would say. “He is strong and wise, and he will do much for us and our families”.
And they waited and waited for the good times to come.
Some of EsEm’s big friends were happy as he gave to them plenty of attention and plenty of money. But they were not really friends; they were folk who only wanted things for themselves; they were greedy and mean. But EsEm didn’t notice - or didn’t mind; he was just pleased to hear them agree what a wise leader he was.
Every so often, EsEm would call a gathering, where he would speak to his citizenry. Many busy writing rabbits would gather with their pencils ready to take notes of EsEm’s latest announcement.
The writing rabbits would scratch away at their notepads, listening with their big ears and trying to make sense of what EsEm was saying.
Some of the bigger rabbits (perhaps they were hares) would ask EsEm important questions, to which he would always crossly answer that he had already explained, and he didn’t need to repeat it.
Sometimes EsEm would read words from a page or a screen and if anyone asked him a question about what he had said, he would not answer them.
A few writing rabbits started to wonder if EsEm did genuinely know what he was talking about, but they, like the others, just wrote down the words they had heard and told the rest of the kingdom the latest news.
There were times when EsEm’s actions needed clarifying, but he always managed to convince the writing rabbits that he was the leader and so he was right - and they had to agree.
His companions in the big house he occupied, would tell him he was right. They were happy because he would let them do what they wanted - which dismayed some of his subjects, but none complained.
EsEm’s mates did some foolish things, like wasting many millions of the kingdom’s money. Some acted in a cruel way to some of the population. One companion even sold and bought water that did not exist, and someone sent demanding bills to small folk who did not owe anything. One member of the kingdom staff spent money on a vital supply, but left it in another land, where it could not be used.
There were many, many bad decisions for the kingdom and many errors of judgement, but the writing rabbits did not write much about mistakes, as they knew they were in danger of losing their jobs if they did.
One day, in the middle of an important meeting in the big house, EsEm lost his temper and yelled at a special wise owl and was extremely rude to another. When asked to stop, he argued and was even more rude than before. He was a very grumpy tiger that day and his tiger skin slipped a little to reveal parts of weasel underneath.
Later, he made another of his important announcements, in words only he could understand (or pretended to). This announcement was about education for the younger kingdom inhabitants and how he wished for most of his kingdom folk to become workers and not thinkers.
At this news, some inhabitants started to complain (softly, of course) and some of them even began to question EsEm’s wisdom.
“What will we do, if every animal is a worker and none is able to think deeply and work out important values?”
One of these wondering citizens remembered hearing a human story of an emperor who was somewhat similar to EsEm, and not really capable of being a leader. The emperor in the story was called out to be a fake by a small boy.
“Where can we find such a small boy for us?” he asked his friends.
“Maybe the writing rabbits will act as that small boy”, one suggested.
And they asked some of the writing rabbits to tell the true story. And, some of the rabbits thought it might be possible.
BUT THEN, EsEm called another one of his gatherings to make a VERY important announcement.
And, it was then that he told them that the WHOLE KINGDOM was in danger of being spied on and wrecked by a ‘state’, whose name he wouldn’t mention.
The writing rabbits went to work with their pencils - going extra fast as they spread the frightening story about the kingdom being under threat by some invisible force.
And the kingdom’s inhabitants were told about this, and all tales of EsEm’s rude outburst and his foolish plans for the young were forgotten. And the dangerous, yet invisible, threat was the only story told that day.
And the citizenry of EsEm’s kingdom went back to whatever was their lot in life and EsEm walked down the corridor of the big house, with his tiger arms across the shoulders of the other fake leaders and all was (not) well, once more.
And they didn’t even hear a voice cry out, “Oh, for a little human boy to call out, ‘The emperor has no clothes!’”