1814, off the Durham coast, near the village of Hartlepool, a war-ship in the Napoleonic fleet founders during a storm and sinks. At day-break, fishermen discover a survivor: a monkey dressed in full military regalia, the mascot. The good people of Hartlepool despise all Frenchmen, though they have never seen one in the flesh. Nor have they ever see a monkey. But this brutish, bestial castaway tallies with the impression they have of the enemy, and the ape is court-martialled. Inspired by this famous legend, this is a tragi-comic fable of war and jingoism.