The king knows that Hop-Frog, his court jester, doesn't like wine. In fact, it drives him crazy, exciting him almost to madness. But as an incorrigible practical joker, the king can't resist forcing his favorite fool to drink in order to make him merry. The king's become rather bored with Hop-Frog doing the same comedy routines over and over again; he wants something different, something new to entertain him and his drinking buddies. And he's sure that with a goblet of wine inside him, Hop-Frog will happily oblige with some new characters.
Unfortunately for the king, he gets more than he bargained for, as Hop-Frog, suitably intoxicated by wine, hits upon a brand new game called "The Eight Chained Orang-utans." This involves pretending that the king and his buddies are eight escaped orang-utans, all of which are chained together. At first, the king and his cronies are delighted by this bizarre jape. They derive enormous pleasure from scaring the other guests. But their delight soon turns to horror—this is an Edgar Allan Poe story, after all—as Hop-Frog winches them up to the ceiling by a chain before setting them on fire.