The Story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain is a very unique and entertaining short essay. This writing combines a blend of humor and reality.
Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is a story within a story. It starts off with the narrator telling us, the readers, that he received a letter from a friend requesting for him to contact a man named Simon Wheeler to inquire about a man named Leonidas W. Smiley. Although the narrator believed that Leonidas W. Smiley was just a myth and that his friend did not actually know of, he still went.
As the narrator came across Simon Wheeler by stove at the barroom in the mining
camp of Angel’s. The narrator goes on to introduce himself and the reason for his coming and Simon Wheeler brought him to the corner and began his tale of Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley. Simon Wheeler told his story without ever changing facial expression, his voice stayed in a gentle-flowing tone and it was shown that he was being honest and that there was no means of humor about his story.
He went on to tell a tale of a man who many considered very lucky. He was a man
who loved to bet and would bet on everything that there could be two sides to be able to
place a bet on it. “…if there was a chicken-fight, he’d bet on it, why, if there was two birds
setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first…”
“Well, this-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tomcats and all the
kind of things, till you couldn’t rest…He ketched a frog one day, and took him home…”
For three months Smiley spent his time educating the frog and teaching it to jump. “And
when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than
any animal of his breed you ever see…”
Smiley was very proud of his frog and would bet money on him. He kept the frog in a lattice box. One day a stranger came into town and asked Smiley what he had in his box. Smiley replied informing the stranger it was a frog and that it could out jump any frog in Calaveras County. The stranger took a look at the frog and said he did that he did not see anything special about the frog. By saying this Smiley put on a bet. The stranger said he did not have a frog. Smiley offered to quick and get the stranger a frog and while he went to the swamp he left his frog with the stranger.
As Smiley was gone and the stranger had the frog, the stranger opened the frogs mouth and filled it up to its chin with quail shot. Smiley came back with a frog for the stranger and on the count of three they touched the frogs behind and the strangers frog leaped into the air, but Smiley’s did not move. The stranger took the money and off he went. Confused, Smiley examined his frog and picked it up and noticed how much more heavy the frog had been. He turned the frog upside down and out came the shot. Smiley chased the stranger but never caught him.
Simon Wheeler got distracted at this point in the story and tells the narrator not to move because he has another story. Thinking that he would not get much information out of the story the man headed for the door and left.