The Jumping-Frog of Calaveras County

The Jumping-Frog of Calaveras County

“And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, ‘It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain’t–it’s only just a frog.’”

The narrator is sent by a friend to interview an old man, Simon Wheeler, who might know the location of an old acquaintance named Leonidas W. Smiley. Finding Simon at an old mining camp, the narrator asks him if he knows anything about Leonidas; Simon appears not to, and instead tells a story about Jim Smiley, a man who had visited the camp years earlier.

Jim loves to gamble and will offer to bet on anything and everything, from horse races to dogfights, to the health of the local parson’s wife. He catches a frog, whom he names Dan’l Webster, and spends three months training it to jump. When a stranger visits the camp, Jim shows off Dan’l and offers to bet $40 that it can out-jump any other frog in Calaveras County. The stranger, unimpressed, says that he would take the bet if he had a frog, so Jim goes out to catch one, leaving him alone with Dan’l. While Jim is away, the stranger pours lead shot down Dan’l’s throat. Once Jim returns, he and the stranger set the frogs down and let them loose. The stranger’s frog jumps away while Dan’l does not budge, and the surprised and disgusted Jim pays the $40 wager. After the stranger has departed, Jim notices Dan’l’s sluggishness and picks the frog up, finding it to be much heavier than he remembers. When Dan’l belches out a double handful of lead shot, Jim realizes that he has been cheated and chases after the stranger, but never catches him. Wikipedia

Credits:

  • Adapted from the story The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
  • Written by Mark Twain
  • Performed by Bo Greigh
  • Recorded by Warren Smith
  • This work is published under a CC-BY 4.0 license. You are free to share this recording. Credit should be attributed to verkaro.org
  • Presented in association with: The Public Domain Foundry with special thanks to our volunteers.
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About Warren Smith
Warren enjoys, reading, writing, recording audio, working with public domain resources, and generally having a good day.