Being part of the king’s court should be a dream job, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t so for Hop-Frog and Tripetta. The king’s jester, Hop-Frog, was a dwarf and a cripple. Hop-Frog wasn’t the name with which he was christened; he was called that because of the way he moved around. Along with a female dwarf, Tripetta, he had been sent to the king as a present by one of his generals.
The king and his generals were not nice people. Because of the way Hop-Frog looked when he moved about, they made fun of him a lot. He didn’t like to drink wine, but the king took pleasure in making him do so. The last time the king did this, he demanded Hop-Frog come up with something new to entertain the court.
Revenge, the desire to get even by exacting vengeance on those who have wronged us, has been around since almost the beginning of time. And this jester planned on getting his revenge.
This new thing Hop-Frog came up with involved eight chained ourang-outangs, but he told the king and his seven ministers that they would have to help. The king and his seven ministers were so gullible. Perhaps they were more than a bit drunk?
Hop-Frog’s planned revenge was clear for me to see from the time the gullible king and his councilmen so trustingly accepted what he had to tell them about his planned entertainment. Do I think these eight men deserved what Hop-Frog did to them? Well, the revenge was immensely satisfying for this reader.
This classic tale of horror from the master of horror is one you don’t want to miss reading. If you wish to read this story for yourself, it is one of the tales in Gothic & Horror: Edgar Allan Poe Edition, a book any Poe fan should not be without. This short tale of horror is also available on its own.
If you prefer to listen to this story, below is a reading of it from YouTube. There are captions so you can read along with the narrator.
Dwarfs were as common at court, in those days, as fools; and many monarchs would have found it difficult to get through their days (days are rather longer at court than elsewhere) without both a jester to laugh with, and a dwarf to laugh at.
New Words and Phrases Learned:
a rare avis in terris – a rare bird on this earth
bumper – (archaic) a generous glassful of an alcoholic drink, typically one drunk as a toast
Caryatides – stone carvings of draped female figures, used as pillars to support the entablature of Greek or Greek-style buildings
depending – controlled
eclat – This is a French word. In “Hop-Frog,” there was not an accent over the “e” as there is in the dictionary, so I left it off. An eclat is a brilliant display or effect. Be sure to look this one up if you don’t know how to pronounce it.
expiated – atoned for sin or guilt
flambeau – flaming torch
illimitable – limitless
stockinet – a soft, loosely knitted stretch fabric
About the Author:
Author, poet, and literary critic, Edgar Allan Poe is credited with pioneering the short story genre, inventing detective fiction, and contributing to the development of science fiction. However, Poe is best known for his works of the macabre, such as the following infamous titles:
“The Pit and the Pendulum”
“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
”The Fall of the House of Usher.”
Part of the American Romantic Movement, Poe was one of the first writers to make his living exclusively through his writing, working for literary journals and becoming known as a literary critic. His works have been widely adapted for film. Edgar Allan Poe died of a mysterious illness in 1849 at the age of 40.