The story starts off when the main character (He doesn't have a name) reads in the wanted ad of the newspaper. He finds an add that says "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person." He finds this ad very intriging. He follows the address posted at the bottom of the ad to a very normal, business-type building. He goes to the room that he was told to go to. When he arrives the room is bare, with only a chair in the middle and a large glass window with a sign behind it that says "With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?" He looks closer and he sees that there is an ape behind the window. He soon figures out that the gorilla can speak to him telepathically. The gorilla, who he finds out is named Ishmael, tells him a long story about how he became domesticated and was taught by a dying profesor how to speak telepathically. Ishmael told the man that he was going to teach him a lot about the culture of man, and how they have treated the Earth poorly. The man decides to be taught by Ishmael and will come back the next day.