The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

By Mark Twain

Summary

A man from that is travelling from the East (we assume) arrives in a mining town in the west. After receiving a letter from a friend from the East, the narrator then finds himself in a old bar speaking with a man named Simon Wheeler in order to ask about another fellow named Leonidas W. Smiley. Instead of giving the narrator the information that he asks for, Wheeler then goes into a full length tall tale about a man named Jim Smiley.

Simon Wheeler then goes into the life of Jim Smiley who was a man who would bet on anything. Usually betting on whatever people would not bet on. He had a dog named Andrew Jackson that would intentionally lose a fight until enough money was bet against him. He would then lock unto the others dogs hind legs and ultimately win the fight. A great strategy until he fought a dog with no hind legs. He also had a frog that he turned into a pet and bet a stranger that his frog, which he named Dan’l Webster, could jump higher than any other frog. While Smiley went to fetch a frog to compete with, the stranger filled Dan’l Webster with quail shots, and Smiley lost the bet. The stranger took off and disappeared before Smiley could realize that his frog, Dan’l Webster was five pounds heavier and filled with quail shots.

At this Point our narrator grows impatient and sick of this particular tall tale about Jim Smiley and his gambling con artist ways, the narrator seeks a opportunity to escape before Wheeler launches into another story. The narrator then realizes that his friend probably intended for him to suffer through Wheeler’s tedious tale.

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