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Twain, Mark. "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".

Summary and Analysis

This is a tall tale, an anecdote presenting obvious fiction as serious fact. The core of the story is told by an intermediate narrator, Simon Wheeler. The first person narrator is requested by his friend to require after his friend's friend Leonidas W. Smiley by the garrulous old Simon Wheeler. The narrator learns that Leonidas is probably a myth and is bored to death by the story of Jim Smiley. The story is told him with great earnestness and sincerity which prevents the narrator from laughing at it.

Jim Smiley is always betting on everything. Once he caught a frog and spent three months with educating it, teaching it to jump. The frog was named Daniel Webster. Jim Smiley claimed that his Daniel Webster can outjump any frog in the county. He makes a stranger bet with him on it. He goes to catch another frog for the stranger, and when the stranger is left alone at the box with Daniel Webster, he feeds him full of quail shot. Daniel Webster cannot stir and Jim Smiley loses. The stranger leaves and Jim Smiley finds out he was cheated.

Simon Wheeler is called away, and the narrator runs from his house so that he would not be served another story of Jim Smiley's crippled cow.


  • Author

    Twain, Mark. (1835 - 1910).
  • Full Title

    "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". Also as: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".
  • First Published

  • Form

    Short story.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark. "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". (1865). In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.


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