Volume 1817
Georges Dodds'
The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
A collection of texts which prepared the advent of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Frenchman and a Dutchman in the Kingdom of Apes

Pieter de la Court


Pieter de la Court (1618-1685) was a Dutch economist and businessman. He pioneered modern thinking about the economic importance of free competition and was an uncompromising advocate of the republican form of government. From Wikipedia, more here.

Link to Tarzan of the Apes

Honesty doesn't always pay when visiting a simian society
  • Personal research
  • Edition(s) used

  • Pieter de la Court. 1703. "Fable II. "A Frenchman and a Dutchman in the Kingdom of Apes." p. 7-10. In: Fables Moral and Political, with Large Explications. Translated from the Dutch. London: n.p.
  • Originally:

  • Pieter de la Court. 1685. Sinryke fabulen, verklaart en toegepast tot alderley zeede-lessen, dienstig om waargenomen te werden in het menschelijke en burgerlijke leeven.
    Text from Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).

    Modifications to the text

  • Tedious theological/moral explication omitted.

  • Fable II.
    A Frenchman and a Dutchman in the Kingdom of Apes.

    A Frenchman and a Dutchman, who were traveling together to see foreign countries, happened at length to arrive in a land unknown to all geographers, and inhabited only by apes. The king of the apes, hearing of their arrival, sent and invited them to court; where, to shew them the great state, and pomp he lived in, he made a great ball, to receive them: When that entertainment was over, he desired them to ride out to a hunting, with the greatest lords of the land, and chieftest of his courtiers: the horses, the hounds, the hawks, and all the other equipage for hunting, were all in the greatest order imaginable; in short, when they had killed game enough, and that the sport was over, they fell to eating, drinking, swearing, cursing, gaming, whoring, talking lewdly, and other excesses, insomuch that one of the foreigners, who had often seen the like in his own country, presently concluded that they were got into the land of apes, and not into a country inhabited by rational creatures. The king of the apes, who in all these debaucheries surpassed, or at least was flattered to do so, by all his subjects, took these strangers aside, and asked them, the Frenchman first, how he liked his court and way of living; the insinuating Frenchman, perceiving the vanity of the ape, resolved to suit his answer accordingly, and therefore told him, that he was astonished at the great prudence, courage, and eloquence, which he had observed in all his subjects, but that those, and all other excellencies, were more conspicuous in his royal person and that he believed he had made choice of the wisest council on the Earth; that their way of dressing, and eating, surpassed all that had been seen elsewhere: that the horses, hawks, and hounds, of his country were not to be matched; but above all, that the ladies were passing fair, and that in short he fancied himself to be arrived in an earthly paradise, and that his whole ambition was to be admitted into the number of his Majesty's most humble slaves. The Frenchman's answer so pleased the king, that he immediately appointed him to be one of his privy council, and settled a considerable pension on him during life. It came next to the Dutchman's turn to answer the same question; but he, in whose country those ways of living were always discountenanced, not being accustomed to flatter and lye, nor considering that when a man's misfortune has thrown him into a land of apes, he ought in prudence to comply with the customs of it, thought he should gain more honour by telling the plain truth of the matter, that the Frenchman had done by his fulsome flattery: he therefore roundly told the ape, that he had not seen the least pattern of good government in his whole court, and that all his country had presented him with nothing but a scene of lewdness and debauchery; that he plainly saw that apes were nothing but apes, and all their actions apish; and that there was no comparison between their ways of living, and those of rational creatures. This answer of the plain dealing Dutchman so highly incensed the high and mighty ape and his council, that they treated him as an enemy to their country, and put him to death. Upon this the Frenchman, the more to ingratiate himself in their favour, justified the proceedings of the king and council against his fellow-traveller, declaring he had deservedly suffered for his rashness.



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