There was one big, rich country in the world, and there was always peace and order. And although in this country there were poor and rich and the rich oppressed the poor, no one ever complained, and even more so never grumbled or, God forbid, resented. The fat fat king sat for himself, sat on the golden throne, and the fat well-fed bourgeois lived for themselves, lived in their beautiful houses, and the poor dutifully worked twelve hours a day in factories and fields, and if sometimes they starved or lacked money, it seemed that they did not notice it. And that was why. Many, many years ago, an evil wizard lived in this country, and that wizard was a friend of the king. The wizard could guess the future and knew that the day would come when the poor would no longer allow themselves to be treated as uncomplaining animals, the time would come and they would fight for their rights, and then the wealth and luxury of kings and bourgeois would come to an end. And the wizard decided not to let it happen. He spent his whole life in his office, cutting roundels out of glass, giving them different colors, and then making glasses out of them. Then he punished the king — and told him to pass on this instruction by inheritance — to wear glasses to every newborn baby and, under pain of death, to forbid them to ever be removed. In a large beautiful hall, countless glasses were laid out on a special woolen mat. The successor of that sorcerer was now in charge of all the affairs, he was immediately informed of the birth of each new baby, and he picked up the appropriate glasses and put them on to the child himself or entrusted it to his assistants. Glasses were of various types and styles. The most difficult model turned out to be glasses for the poor; the wizard worked on them for twenty-five years, until, finally, luck came to him. The glasses were designed in such a way that a poor man looks at his brothers and sisters — and they seem to him to be helpless, insignificant creatures, and looks at a rich man or even at a king — and they seem to him through these glasses to be powerful beings, almost divine creatures, to whom all the best in the world should belong, and to fight against whose power no one can, and to whom the right is given to convert all other people into their slaves. I had to rack my brain over how to get the right color for the glass; for it was necessary to make it so that the poor man who wears these glasses looked at his miserable dwelling and saw it cozy and beautiful, and vice versa – looked at the houses and gardens of the rich, at the palaces and parks of the king and did not notice their splendor, luxury; after all, this can ultimately make him feel irritated. But making glasses for the rich turned out to be quite simple: the wizard added some gold or silver, and now, wherever the rich man looks, it seems to him that there is only gold and silver around, and people do not notice at all; he sees a worker and thinks it’s just a machine built to benefit him. Well, to make glasses for the king was a completely trifling matter, they did not need to be processed in a special way. The sorcerer dipped them once in the blood of the cruelest man in the world and then a couple of times in the blood of the most stupid man, and now the king sees through those glasses all that kings usually see, and everything looked as it should have appeared before the eyes of the king. The wizard also made a small number of large glasses with pink glasses; in the three hundred years that have elapsed since the old wizard’s death, only three times have I had to use these glasses. They were intended forfor those strange people whose eyes, despite the usual glasses, could distinguish and see something from real reality. For example, there was one young poet, he served at court, lived in joy and contentment, loved and revered by everyone. He wrote beautiful poems praising the king and his wise rule, and he also composed songs in which he extolled the virtues of the rich. It would seem that such a poet should be the happiest person in the world; indeed, he looked at the world through his silver-plated glasses with quite cheerful eyes. Only one thing bothered the rich: the poet did not want to become as fat and well-fed as they were, but he was a poet, and they forgave him for it. But once the poet happened to be in the poor people’s quarter. It was a wonderful summer day, the sun was so baking that the silver that covered the glasses melted a little, and then the poet saw with one eye the real reality. He was so frightened that he even screamed loudly. He saw tired hard workers working hard working from dawn to dusk, thin, sick women, stunted, starving children. And he thought that no one but him had ever seen this before and he had an obligation to tell everyone this truth. Then he ran to the rich and, shedding tears, told them about the horrors that he saw. And they laughed only, deciding that it was him from the heat a little uncomfortable. The poet looked then and saw reality again with one eye. He then shouted to the rich, “Robbers! Assassins!– and rushed to the king, hoping at least there to find support. But as soon as the king sitting on the throne appeared before his eyes, the poet shouted directly to his face: “Oh you are evil, monster, stupid! Who gave you the right to sit on this throne? Then the poet was tied hand and foot and imprisoned in prison, and it was already decided to put him to death, if the wizard, the keeper of glasses, did not say a good word for him and did not explain to the king where this evil comes from. Then they dragged the troublemaker to the wizard, who put on his rose-colored glasses and said: ” My friend, your glasses are broken, so you decided that you see such terrible things. Go outside now, look around and realize right away that you were mistaken. The poet obeyed him, looked at the world through rose-colored glasses, and again everything seemed beautiful and good to him. Poverty and misery appeared before him as something enlightened, holy, and he thought: “Work ennobles man; how happy must be the people who are given to ennoble like this for twelve hours a day!” The rich seemed to him again respectable friends, well, as he appeared before the clear eyes of the king himself, from reverence he immediately fell into a leg, blinded by royal grandeur.
After this incident, for many years nothing disturbed the peace and order in the country. But when the young poet became an old poet and was lying at death, he tore his glasses from his eyes that they were about to close forever, and at that second it seemed to him that he saw again all that he saw then-summer day. Sitting next to him was a young maid who had faithfully courted him all along. The poet grabbed her hand and muttered, “Glasses, take off your glasses, look! With those words, he died.