Hop Frog by Edgar Allan Poe

To tell a good joke
o how the king loved to do that
him and his seven ministers

jokers the lot of them
fat large corpulent oily men

such jokes they liked to play
such gaiety

How the king enjoyed
his jesters
with their bells and caps and gowns
those fools

dancing around
and telling jokes
and getting hit with pies
for his amusement

with sharp wit
waiting for the crumbs to fall from his table

and this king’s fool
well he was the most foolish
of all

for not only was he a jester but a dwarf
a cripple
his entire body designed
to bring others to contortment and laughter

how the king would laugh
at his fool this dwarf
this cripple

who he named Hop Frog
accordingly

Hop-Frog would walk along with
his interjectional gait-something or another
not like an ordinary man of course

more like a wriggler
a professional wriggler at that

and how the king laughed!

his belly swelling
capital figure

but Hop Frog was not without his virtues too
he had great muscely barbarous arms
from which he climbed trees
and swung from chandeliers
and did most amazing things

Hop Frog became friendly with another
crippled girl taken from her local province
to be used as amusement for the king.

Trippetta she was
beautiful though a dwarf
and Hop-Frog enjoyed her company very much

One day, the king ordered a masquerading of sorts
these sort of things happening quite often in the court
and both Hop Frog and Trippetta were called into action
and Hop-Frog himself went about creating this
celebration
this pageant suggesting novel characters
and costumes and so on and so forth

for nothing of such things could happen
without his putting forth

The hall being dressed for everyone’s impressment
and beautiful Trippetta there with a gleam and shine
in her eye

and the King smiled
everyone had their costumes picked out
ready for the big night
when the ball would twinkle in the sky

he saw Hop-Frog whom he knew could not handle
wine
and so delighted in having him imbibe as much
as possible
in the shortest amount of time

what a jokester was the king
so much joy he took in such fun
such innocent merriment
fraternity!

and so he urged Hop Frog to drink
pouring into him

“Drink! Hop-Frog Drink!”
“and be merry!”

Hop-Frog could not disappoint the king’s
insistency
and so reluctantly he drained the beaker
his eyes shining already

“There you go my good fellow” said the king
slapping him on the back gregariously

“And another!” “And another!”
the king stuffed Hop Frog full of the libation
the merriment so much joy to be fitted
into that little dwarfed crippled body

so much

happiness

And all the ministers were quite content with this joke
seeing Hop Frog bumping and stumbling
barely able to stand drunk with delirium
the wine coursing through his veins

The king says to him then “Come, Hop Frog
what shall we be me and these minister men of mine
fine they are, fine indeed
we must all be fitted in the most splendid costumes
for this eve’s ball must we not?”

“I shall do my best to come up with something novel”
said Hop Frog

and the king then exploded
“Of course, more wine! That will loosen your mind
and tongue and the ideas will fly and come
forth spewing streaming out of you

Here take this!”

and handing him the goblet forcibly
desiring him to become even more intoxicatingly
delirious than ever thought possibly
he could be

and Hop-Frog hesitated knowing his limit
not wishing to go further down this
dark hallway of wishy-wash inundate

and the beautiful Trippetta fell on her knees
before the king
begging him
pleading
no more for the Hop-Frog
he has had enough
can’t you see!

The king was at a loss of words for how to deal with this most
absurd inter-sperse from the dazzling beautiful Trippetta girl

and so he pushed her away violently
and threw the contents of the brimming goblet in her face
and she tried best she could
daring not even to sight
to get up from her position at the foot of the table

and move on
from this strange encounter
all too inevitable

Silence half a minutes rest
you could hear the leaves falling
the feathers of a bird’s breast

and then the sound of a low grating sound
a rumbling protracted abounding

the King responding “What are you moaning about”
to the dwarf Hop-Frog who then ejaculated

“Me, nothing. nothing at all. How could I.”

“It must have been something from outside”
exclaimed one of the courtiers

“Funny,” said the king “I could have sworn that was the sound
of Hop-Frog’s teeth grating”

and the dwarf laughed and shoed his huge
repulsive teeth

and drained the liquor

and proceeded to give the king what he wanted
the plan for the masquerade ball

“I do not know how it came to me
but here it is
just the idea you are looking for I’m sure
an idea fitting of a king and requiring eight men”

“Why, myself and my seven ministers make eight our own”
exclaiming his highness

“Excellent, then here is my plan.
It shall be called the Eight Chained Ourangoutangs”

“Say no more”
said the King

“We shall do as you say, do as you please
for you are a terrific joker and the joke is on me
now go on and explain precisely what you mean.”

“Most certainly my dear king” Hop-Frog acquiesced
“the nature of this game is but to impress
as host of the masquerade you will be nowhere to be found
the guests will come in their party-outfits abound
and wonder where is the King and his ministers
and instead of being confronted by your excellence
they will see eight chained together Orangoutangs”

“What a splendid idea!” exclaimed the king
“Instead of us, there will be these monkeys these chimpanzees
o how they will be frightened and then delighted
to see the joke we have pulled on them
our dear guests.”

“Yes”

“Delightful indeed”
said Hop-Frog

grating his teeth

“In chains you will face them, and so it will seem
that the eight of you just escaped from the town zoo
and how fascinatingly horrible this will be to all those
ready to dance and sing and be merry at this gay masquerade party”

“It must be so” proclaimed the king
ready to execute this wonderful scheme

Hop-Frog then went about fitting the ministers
into the tight-fitting stocking shirts and drawers
and saturating them from head to toe with blackened tar.
The suggestion of feathers was rebuked
in favor of a thick coating of flu
to give the impression they truly were brutes
with thick coarse hair
of course

what else?

And so there they were blackened the king
and his ministers coated
with tar not feathers
looking quite splendid these eight Orangoutangs
now to be chained together
forming a circle
most natural links criss-crossing
ensnaring them
truly

these trapped monkeys
escaped from the zoo

Yes
so it seems

The ball is ready
with lightings and fixtures
and the chandellier swinging atop of the ceiling
awaiting the guests to come in

Hop-Frog seeing to everything
that it be perfect
the flambeau the sweet odors
the beautiful flowers whatever
for the King could spare no expense
to impress entertain and ultimately rouse his guests

and then Hop-Frog did suggest
to remove that swinging chandellier
to let the candle wax not drip on the guests interesting
bemusements and outfits

and so it was done
for everyone agreed to whatever Hop-Frog
the king’s match of a joker
desired to be

midnight struck and the guests filled in
the room with merriment and drunken glee

and then precisely at that moment in time
Hop Frog shouted “Now”
and the backstage eight Ourangoutangs
came and lit up the place
with this surreal imagery

these zoo creatures in chains
what were they to do?

How strange.

The women swooning
the men frightened
people rushing around
but no weapons around of course
they had been taken from the ballroom
and the doors locked so all the guests
were forced to deal with these guests
in fear and recourse no remorse
standing waiting
watching wondering
what

would happen

The guests standing hoping for their safety
and then just then Hop-Frog
did take them these eight Ourangoutangs
the king and his ministers
dressed up so

and attach them by the chain hanging from
where the chandellier ordinarily would be
wrapping it up around their links
together

hooking it so

and then Hop-Frog pulling on the chain
bringing the eight together closely
into a bundle

the guests realizing it was all in good fun
relaxing a little and laughing

and so

Hop Frog then did yell

“Leave them to me!”

“I will get a good look at them
and tell you who they are”

And he went with torch in hand
to look over these strange eight Ourangoutangs

and now everybody was convulsing with laughter
the jesters the jokers the king and his ministers
and his guests everyone together
laughing at this most pleasant experience

and then Hop-Frog did signal the cry
and the chain was made taught
lifting them into the sky
thirty feet together
in a ball the king and his ministers
these eight Ourangoutangs in all
hanging there suspended
feet dangling
for all the guests to see

and the people were quite
in this masquerade party
not exactly sure what was going
on for nothing was what it seemed

and then
in that moment of silence
the slow grating

of Hop-Frog’s teeth

the dwarf there upon the chain too
looking at them with his flambeaux

“Aha! I see who they are now”
and just then the light did touch their tarred blackened bodies
and poof
up in flames they went

the whole lot of them
all eight of these Ourangoutangs
going up in flames.

Below the crowd bewildered
confused
scared suredly by this flaming monstrousity
all these men or beasts or whatever they were
writhing wriggling screaming convulting
disbelieving

how could this be happening!

teeth-grinding

smiling

climbing higher up the chain
with his mighty muscley arms
the dwarf did then speak out of the fire’s tentacle reach

“Yes, I can see clearly who these men are
it is the king and his seven privy-councillors
willing to strike a defenceless girl in the face”

“As for I,
I am but a simply jester
Hop-Frog

and yes indeed this will be
my last jest

played to you
this evening”

The work of vengeance complete
those poor miserable wretches left burning
souls entrapped in that flax and wax and tar
wishing no more
corpses swinging by their chains
blackened hideous

The dwarf hurling his torch at them,
and clambering into the ceiling
off through the night sky

together with Trippetta
to leave that courtly wasteland
heading off to their own country
never

to be

seen again