Synopsis of the play.
Some time before the story begins, Hop-Frog and
his friend Trippetta are captured by one of the King's generals in a far off
land, they are brought back and given to the King as servants. Hop-Frog serves as jester
to the King and Trippetta helps to plan and decorate for social events. She also
dances for the king and his court. Both Hop-Frog and Trippetta are dwarves.
Hop-Frog's body is deformed to such an extent that even walking is painful.
Trippetta, on the other hand, is perfectly formed but tiny. She is very
The king and his ministers are all extremely
obese and spend much of their time playing practical jokes. They especially
enjoy laughing at and abusing Hop-Frog. Even his name is the result of their
making fun of the way he walks.
A masquerade ball is planned for the next night
and Hop-Frog is expected to come up with costumes and a practical joke that the
king and his ministers can play on the rest of the guests. Hop-Frog hesitates,
and the king forces him to drink wine, which Hop-Frog despises. When Trippetta
tries to intervene on Hop-Frog's behalf, the king knocks her to the floor and
dumps wine in her face. This angers Hop-Frog and he suddenly comes up with a
trick the king and his ministers can play on the masquerade guests.
The plan is to dress the king and his ministers
up like ourang-outangs and suddenly invade the party frightening the guests. The
king thinks it is a marvelous idea. Hop-Frog dresses them in tight-fitting
clothing, paints them with tar and applies flax to simulate hair. As a final
touch Hop-Frog chains them all together. On the king's orders all ballroom doors
are locked and the key is given to Hop-Frog. After the beasts have entered,
Hop-Frog is to lock the final door so the frightened guests cannot escape.
On the stroke of midnight, the beasts invade
the ballroom, causing havoc. As though playing along with the game, Hop-Frog
attaches their chain to the chandelier chain. (The chandelier having been
removed under the pretense that the candles might drip wax on the guests'
costumes.) Hop-Frog draws the ourang-outangs up into the air. Taking a flaming
torch close, under the pretext of identifying the beasts, Hop-Frog sets the king
and his ministers afire, climbs the chain to the ceiling, and exits through a
small opening onto the roof. Trippetta is waiting there, and together they make
their escape amid the agonized screams from the ballroom below.