The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

In English, then in Polish, then back into English once more

David Fifield

For the final project of my Polish course with Katarzyna Zacha in Spring 2017, I translated the Mark Twain story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” into Polish. This page has the English original, my Polish translation, and a back-translation of the Polish back into English.

I got the idea for the translation from a book I had bought by chance, “The Jumping Frog: in English, then in French, and then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil,” in which Twain back-translated a French translation of the story back into English, keeping the French word order and false friends. So, for example, the jumping frog became la grenouille santeuse became the frog jumping. In an introduction, Twain savages the French rendering of his story:

He has not translated it at all; he has simply mixed it all up…

…kindly take notice how the Frenchman has riddled the grammar. I think it is the worst I ever saw, and yet the French are called a polished nation.

You can read a scan of the English–French–English version at the Internet Archive. That version seems to have the exact same typesetting but different illustrations than my paper edition, which is ISBN 0932458300.

I wondered what a Polish translation would look like, and, finding none online, decided to make my own. I’m not a pro translator or anything, and my Polish isn’t even that good, so I’m sure there are errors. Many parts of the English text are difficult to translate while keeping the feeling, for example thish-yer Smiley, on a dead level, blame my cats, and eye dialect such as cal’klated to edercate and ketched, Of particular interest to me is the word outjump:

He can outjump any frog in Calaveras county.
I don’t think French nor Polish has an equivalent to the out- prefix (outrun, outsmart, out-Herod). At first I tried translating it something like this:
Ona góruje w skakaniu nad jakąkolwiek żabą w Calaveras.
“She dominates in jumping over any frog in Calaveras.” I was feeling mighty clever at selecting the word górować, whose relation to the word góra—mountain—adds an additional connotation of height. But then I checked how the French translation had it:
Elle peut battre en sautant toute grenouille du comté de Calaveras.
and how Twain back-translated it:
She can batter in jumping all frogs of the county of Calveras.
Upon further reflection, I changed it to skacze lepiej—jumps better—thinking that was more in keeping with the character of Smiley anyway.

My source for the English version was this page from the University of Virginia library. I had to clean it up considerably—there were many errors such as missing em-dashes and italics, spurious spaces after hyphens, and typos like bolt for holt and warn's for warn't. In making corrections, I referred to this scan from the Internet Archive. This version has some differences from the paper edition I have, for example One—two—three—jump! in place of One—two—three—git!.

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Mark Twain

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend’s friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that, if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me nearly to death with some infernal reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was the design, it certainly succeeded.

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the old, dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Angel’s, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up and gave me good-day. I told him a friend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smiley—Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel’s Camp. I added that, if Mr. Wheeler could tell me any thing about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat me down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned the initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was any thing ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse. To me, the spectacle of a man drifting serenely along through such a queer yarn without ever smiling, was exquisitely absurd. As I said before, I asked him to tell me what he knew of Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and he replied as follows. I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once:

There was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of ’49—or maybe it was the spring of ’50—I don’t recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume wasn’t finished when he first came to the camp; but any way, he was the curiosest man about always betting on any thing that turned up you ever see, if he could get any body to bet on the other side; and if he couldn’t, he’d change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit him—any way just so’s he got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn’t be no solit’ry thing mentioned but that feller’d offer to bet on it, and take any side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you’d find him flush, or you’d find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he’d bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he’d 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; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg’lar, to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he was, too, and a good man. If he even seen a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get wherever he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to him—he would bet on any thing—the dangdest feller. Parson Walker’s wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn’t going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley asked how she was, and he said she was considerable better—thank the Lord for his inf’nit mercy—and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of Prov’dence, she’d get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, “Well, I’ll risk two-and-a-half that she don’t, anyway.”

Thish-yer Smiley had a mare—the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of course, she was faster than that—and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag-end of the race she’d get excited and desperate-like, and come cavorting and straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and sometimes out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up m‑o‑r‑e dust, and raising m‑o‑r‑e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose—and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cypher it down.

And he had a little small bull pup, that to look at him you’d think he wan’t worth a cent, but to set around and look ornery, and lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up on him, he was a different dog; his underjaw’d begin to stick out like the fo’castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover, and shine savage like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him, and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson—which was the name of the pup—Andrew Jackson would never let on but what he was satisfied, and hadn’t expected nothing else—and the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j’int of his hind leg and freeze on it—not chaw, you understand, but only jest grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn’t have no hind legs, because they’d been sawed off by a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he saw in a minute how he’d been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he ’peered surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn’t try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn’t no hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he’d lived, for the stuff was in him, and he had genius—I know it, because he hadn’t had no opportunities to speak of, and it don’t stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances, if he hadn’t no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his’n, and the way it turned out.

Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tom-cats, and all of them kind of things, till you couldn’t rest, and you couldn’t fetch nothing for him to bet on but he’d match you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal’klated to edercate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He’d give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you’d see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut—see him turn one summerset, or maybe a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of catching flies, and kept him in practice so constant, that he’d nail a fly every time as far as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do most any thing—and I believe him. Why, I’ve seen him set Dan’l Webster down here on this floor—Dan’l Webster was the name of the frog—and sing out, “Flies, Dan’l, flies!” and quicker’n you could wink, he’d spring straight up, and snake a fly off’n the counter there, and flop down on the floor again as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn’t no idea he’d been doin’ any more’n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightforward as he was, for all he was so gifted. 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. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been everywheres, all said he laid over any frog that ever they see.

Well, Smiley kept the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to fetch him down town sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller—a stranger in the camp, he was—come across him with his box, and says:

“What might it be that you’ve got in the box?”

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

And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, “H’m—so ’tis. Well, what’s he good for?”

“Well,” Smiley says, easy and careless, “He’s good enough for one thing, I should judge—he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county.”

The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, “Well, I don’t see no p’ints about that frog that’s any better’n any other frog.”

“Maybe you don’t,” Smiley says. “Maybe you understand frogs, and maybe you don’t understand ’em; maybe you’ve had experience, and maybe you an’t only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I’ve got my opinion, and I’ll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county.”

And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, “Well, I’m only a stranger here, and I an’t got no frog; but if I had a frog, I’d bet you.”

And then Smiley says, “That’s all right—that’s all right—if you’ll hold my box a minute, I’ll go and get you a frog.” And so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley’s, and set down to wait.

So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to hisself, and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot—filled him pretty near up to his chin—and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says:

“Now, if you’re ready, set him alongside of Dan’l, with his fore-paws just even with Dan’l, and I’ll give the word.” Then he says, “One—two—three—jump!” and him and the feller touched up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off, but Dan’l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders—so—like a Frenchman, but it wan’t no use—he couldn’t budge; he was planted as solid as an anvil, and he couldn’t no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn’t have no idea what the matter was, of course.

The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulders—this way—at Dan’l, and says again, very deliberate, “Well, I don’t see no p’ints about that frog that’s any better’n any other frog.”

Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan’l a long time, and at last he says, “I do wonder what in the nation that frog throw’d off for—I wonder if there an’t something the matter with him—he ’pears to look mighty baggy, somehow.” And he ketched Dan’l by the nap of the neck, and lifted him up and says, “Why, blame my cats, if he don’t weigh five pound!” and turned him upside down, and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man—he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never ketched him. And——

[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me as he moved away, he said: “Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy—I ain’t going to be gone a second.”

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would be likely to afford me much information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and so I started away.

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he button-holed me and recommenced:

“Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yeller one-eyed cow that didn’t have no tail, only jest a short stump like a bannanner, and——”

“Oh! hang Smiley and his afflicted cow!” I muttered, good-naturedly, and bidding the old gentleman good-day, I departed.

O sławnej skaczącej żabie z Calaveras

Translated into Polish

Zgodnie z prośbą dobrego przyjaciela mojego, który napisał do mnie z wschodu, złożyłem wizytę dobrodusznemu, gadatliwemu Simon Wheeler, a zapytałem o koledze mojego przyjaciela, Leonidas W. Smiley, tak jak poproszono, a tutaj dołączę skutek. Mam czające się pojęcie, że ten Leonidas W. Smiley to mit; że mój przyjaciel nigdy nie znał takiej osobistości; a że on tylko przypuszczał, że pytanie Wheeler o nim, przypominałoby go o jego słynnym Jim Smiley, a on rozpocząłby nudzić mnie jakąś cholernym pamiętaniem o nim, tak długim i żmudnym jak dla mnie nieskutecznym. Jeżeli to był zamiar, niewątpliwie osiągnęło sukces.

Natknąłem się na Simon Wheeler, drzemiąc wygodnie obok pieca starej rozpadającej się gospody w starożytnym obozie kopalnictwa Angel's Camp, a zauważałem, że on był gruby i łysy, i miał na spokojnej twarzy minę łagodności i prostoty. Poderwał się i mnie pozdrowił. Powiedziałem mu, że mój przyjaciel mnie poprosił, aby pytałem o cenionym towarzyszu jego młodości, nazywano Leonidas W. Smiley—ojcu Leonidas W. Smiley, młodym ministrze ewangelii, o którym słyszał, że on kiedyś mieszkał w Angel's Camp. Dodałem, że jeśli Pan Wheeler mógłby opowiedzieć coś o tym ojcu Leonidas W. Smiley, to ja byłbym do niego zobligowany.

Simon Wheeler pchnął mnie w róg i zablokował mnie krzesłem, a potem sądził mnie i opowiedział monotonną historię, która następuje ten akapit. Nigdy nie uśmiechał się, nie marszczył brwi, nie zmieniał głosu od ciekłej tonacji początkowego zdania, nie ujawniał najmniejszego śladu entuzjazmu; raczej przez całą nieustanną historię pływała nuta imponującej szczerości, która pokazywała mi jasno, że nie tylko nie czuł czegokolwiek głupiego czy śmiesznego w jego historii, traktował ją jako naprawdę poważna sprawa, i zachwycał jej dwóch bohaterów jako ludzie, którzy mieli transcendentalny geniusz w finezji. Spektakl człowieka dryfowając spokojnie przez taką dziwną powieść, bez uśmiechania się, mi się wydawał znakomicie absurdalnie. Jak przedstawiałem, poprosiłem go o czym, co znał o ojcu Leonidas W. Smiley, a on odpowiedział następującymi akapitami. Pozwoliłem, aby go włóczył się, bez przerwania:

Był tutaj kiedyś facet po imieniu Jim Smiley, zimą czterdziestego dziewiątego—albo może wiosną pięćdziesiątego—nie pamiętam dokładnie, jakoś, ale to, co skłania mnie do wierzenia, że to było albo jedno albo drugie, jest to, że pamiętam, że duży kanał nie był skończony kiedy najpierw przyszedł na obóz; w każdym razie, był najniezwykłym człowiekiem, jak nigdy nie wiedziałeś, o zakładaniu się na jakąkolwiek rzecz, gdy potrafił przekonać kogoś do podejmowania zakład o drugiej stronie; a gdy nie potrafił, wybierałby drugą stronę sam. Jakikolwiek sposób, który zadowalał drugiego, zadowalał go—jakikolwiek sposób, który zdobył mu zakład. Ale furt miał szczęście, niesamowite szczęście; prawie zawsze wygrywał. Był zawsze gotowy i szukał szansy; nie było żadnej wspominanej rzeczy bez tego, że facet proponował zakład o tym, i wybierałby jakąkolwiek stronę, tak jak powiedziałem. Gdyby był wyścig konny, on został albo bogaty, albo spłukany na końcu; gdyby była walka psów, ryzykował o tym; gdyby była walka kotów, ryzykował o tym; gdyby była walka kogutów, ryzykował o tym; no, gdy dwa ptaszki siedzieli na płocie, ryzykowałby o pierwszym, który wyleciałby; albo gdyby było zebranie na obozie, bywał tam, żeby ryzykować o proboszczu Walker, o którym sądził, że był najlepszym kaznodzieją, a takim był, i dobrą osobą. Nawet jeśli widział żuka chodząc gdzieś, podejmowałby zakład o jak długo trwał jego podróż, a gdy podjąłbyś drugą stronę, on śledziłby żuka do Meksyku, żeby dowiedzieć się jego przeznaczenie i jak długo był na drodze. Wielu z okolicy zna tego Smiley, i może opowiadać o tym. No, nigdy nie było znaczenia niemu—był chętny ryzykować o wszystkim—niesamowity facet. Żona proboszcza Walker leżała bardzo chora, przez długi czas, a podobno zginęłaby; ale pewnego dnia proboszcz wszedł, a Smiley zapytał o żonie, i odpowiedział, że ona była znacznie lepsza—dzięki Bogu za jego bezgraniczne miłosierdzie—i ulepszyła tak dobrze, że błogosławieństwem opatrzności, wyzdrowiałaby wreszcie; a Smiley, bez myślenia, powiedział, “Więc, zaryzykuję dwa i pół, że ona nie wyzdrowieje, mimo wszystko.”

Ten Smiley miał klacz—ona nazywano piętnastominutowa chabeta, ale tylko żartobliwie, wiesz, bo oczywiście, była szybsza—zwykł zarabiać pieniędzy tą klaczą, wobec tego, że była taka powolna i zawsze cierpiała na astmę, czy zołzy, czy gruźlicę, czy coś podobnego. Przyzwyczajali się dawać ją przewagę dwustu czy trzystu yardów, a potem wyprzedzać ją w drodze; choć zawsze w końcu wyścigu stawała się zdenerwowana i jak nierozsądna, i podchodziła brykając i baraszkując, i rozrzucając nogi zwinnie, czasami do góry i czasami do boku przy płotach, i wznosząc w‑i‑e‑c‑e‑j pyłu, i robiąc w‑i‑e‑c‑e‑j hałasu jej kaszleniem i kichnięciem i smarkaniem się—a zawsze dochodziła do trybuny prawie szyja wcześnie, lub tak blisko tego, jak możliwe.

A miał małego szczeniaczka, czyjego wygląd wydawał wrażenie, że nie był warty dla nic, oprócz leniuchować i wyglądać drażliwie, i szukać szansy kradzenia coś. Choć kiedy pieniądze zależały od niego, był drugim psem; jego szczęka sterczała jak dziobówka parostatku, a jego zęby obnażali się, i błyszczali ostro jak piece. A może, jakiś pies pobijał go, i prześladował go, i gryzł go, i wrzucał go nad ramionach dwu- czy trzykrotnie, a Andrew Jackson—to był nazwa psiaka—Andrew Jackson nigdy nie wydawał nic innego niż tego, że on był zadowolony, i nie oczekiwał nic innego—a stawki ciągle podwojono i podwojono z przeciwległej strony, aż cała suma stała zaryzykowana; a nagle łapał staw tylnej nogi drugiego psa i ściskał—nie żuł, wiesz, ale tylko chwytał i przytrzymywał się dopóki drugi poddawał się, nawet gdy trwało rok. Smiley zawsze zwyciężał z powodu tego psiaka, aż do natknął się na psa, który nie miał tylnych nóg, bo zostały wypiłowane przez piłę tarczową, a kiedy sprawa była dobrze zaawansowana, i cała suma stała zaryzykowana, a podjął się zrobić jego ulubiony kęs, zdawał sobie sprawę z temu, że spłatano mu figiel, i jak stawał zapędzony w kozi róg, tak mówiąc, i wyglądał zaskoczony, i następnie wydawał się jak zrażany, i skończył starać się wygrać walkę, a zatem poniósł straszną klęskę. Patrzył się na Smiley, tak jak chciał wyrazić, że jego serce zostało złamane, i że on był winny, za danie mu przeciwnika, który nie miał żadnych tylnych nóg dla ukąszenia, które było jego główną możliwością w walce, a wykulał nad kawałkiem teren i poleżał i umarł. Był dobrym szczeniakiem, ten Andrew Jackson, i byłoby znany gdyby żył, bo duch mieszkał w nim, i on miał geniusz—wiem to, bowiem nigdy nie miał okazji wartych opowiedzenia, i nie ma sensu, że pies mógłby walczyć tak jak mógł, pod okolicznościach, gdyby nie miał talentu. Zawsze czuję się żałośnie, kiedy myślę o niego ostatniej walce, a jak się skończyła.

Dobrze, ten Smiley miał teriery, i koguty, i kocury, i wszystko tych rodzajów, tak, aby nie można spać, i nie można znaleźć nic, o czym nie podjął zakład. Pewnego dnia złapał żabę, a przynosił ją do domu, a powiedział, że zamierzał wykształcić ją; a więc nie robił nic przez trzy miesięcy oprócz uczyć żabie skakać. A pewnie jej nauczył, też. Dawał jej ciosek z tyłu, a kolejnie widać, że żaba wirowała jak oponka—że wykonywała salto czy parę, jeśli była dobrze gotowana, i spadała płasko na nogach, cała i zdrowa, jak kot. Dokształcił ją tak dobrze w dziedzinie polowania muchy, i trenował ją tak ciągle, że ona przyłapała muchę każdy raz, z tak daleko, jak mogła widzieć. Smiley stwierdzał, że żaba tylko brakowała wykształcenia, żeby osiągnąć prawie wszystko—a wierzę mu. Widywałem go, że składał Dan'l Webster—Dan'l Webster to było nazwa żaby—i krzyczał, “Muchy, Dan'l, muchy!” i szybciej od mrugnięcia, skakała w górę, i wyrywała muchę z tej lady, i znowu klapała na podłogę, solidna jak gruda błota, i zaczynała drapać się bok głowy tylną nogą, tak beztrosko jak gdyby nie miała pojęcia, że robiła nic specjalnego dla żaby. Nigdy nie widziałeś takiej skromnej i prostolinijnej żaby tak jak ją, wobec jej możliwości. A kiedy chodziło o bezpośrednie skakanie z dobrze płaskiego poziomu, ona sięgała do większego obszaru jednym skokiem niż jakikolwiek członek jej gatunku, który kiedykolwiek widziałeś. Skakaniem z dobrze płaskiego poziomu był jej mocna strona, rozumiesz; a gdy chodziło o to, Smiley zwiększałby stawkę, dopóki miałby cent. Smiley był ogromnie dumny z jego żaby, a nie bez przyczyny, bo ludzie, którzy podróżowali i byli wszędzie, wszyscy mówili, że ona górowała nad jakąkolwiek przez nich widzianą żabą.

Smiley trzymał istotę w kratownicowej skrzynce, a zwykł nosić ją do miasta, od czasu do czasu, szukając zakładu. Pewnego dnia, gość—nieznajomym na obozie, był—natknął się na niego ze swej skrzynką, i mówi:

“Czym może być to, co masz w skrzynce?”

A Smiley mówi, tak jakby obojętnie, “Może, że jest papugą, albo może, że jest kanarkiem. Może być, ale nie jest—to tylko żabka.”

Gość wziął ją, a przyjrzał się jej uważnie, a obrócił ją tam i z powrotem, a mówi, “No—tak jest. Do czego ona służy?”

“No,” mówi Smiley, łatwo i beztrosko, “Ona służy dość do jednej rzeczy, sądzę. Skacze lepiej od jakiejkolwiek żaby w Calaveras.”

Gość znowu wziął skrzynkę, a znowu popatrzał drobiazgowo, a oddał ją Smileyowi, i mówi, bardzo rozważnie, “No, nie widzę żadnych cech tej żaby, które są lepsze od jakiejkolwiek innej żaby.”

“Chyba nie,” mówi Smiley. “Chyba znasz żaby, a chyba nie ich znasz; chyba jesteś doświadczony, a chyba nie jesteś tylko amatorem, tak jakby. Mimo wszystko, mam swoją opinię, a ja postawię czterdzieści dolarów na to, że ona skacze lepiej od jakiejkolwiek żaby w Calaveras.”

A gość pomyślał przez chwilę, a potem mówi, trochę żałośnie, “Jestem tutaj tylko obcym, i nie mam żadnej żaby; ale gdy miałem żabę, przyjąłbym zakład.”

Zaraz mówi Smiley, “W porządku—w porządku—jeżeli będziesz opiekować się skrzynką za minutę, to przyniosę ci żabę.” Więc gość postawił swoje czterdzieści dolarów obok tych Smiley, i siadł na czekanie.

Więc siadał przez chwilę zastanawiając się, a potem wyjął żabę i otworzył jej usta i łyżeczką napełniał ją śrutami—napełniał ją prawie do brody—i położył ją na podłodze. Smiley, on wyszedł do bagna i wlekł się w błocie, i nareszcie złapał żabę, i zabrał ją, i dał ją gościowi, i mówi:

“A więc, jeśli jesteś przygotowany, to połóż ją obok Dan'l, z przednimi łapami równo z Dan'l, a ja dam rozkaz.” Potem mówi, “Raz—dwa—trzy—skoczcie!” a on i gość dotknęli żaby z tyłu, a nowa żaba wyskoczyła, ale Dan'l starała się dźwigać się, i wzruszyła ramionami—tak—jak Francuz, ale nie dawała sobie rady—nie mogła przesuwać się; stała tak solidnie jak kowadło, a nie mogła ruszyć się dalej, niż jak gdyby była zakotwiczony. Smiley został bardzo zdziwiony, i także czuł odrazę, ale nie miał żadnego pojęcia, czym była sprawa, naturalnie.

Gość zebrał pieniądze i wybrał się; a kiedy wychodził przez drzwi, wszakał nad ramionach kciukiem—tak—na Dan'l, i mówi znowu, bardzo rozważnie, “No, nie widzę żadnych cech tej żaby, które są lepsze od jakiejkolwiek innej żaby.”

Smiley stał długo, drapiąc się głowę i patrząc na Dan'l, i wreszcie mówi, “Ale dziwię się po co psiakrew ta żaba poddała się—zastanawiam się czy nie ma sprawy z nią—wygląda dosyć luźna, jakoś.” A podniósł Dan'l za kark, i wzniósł ją, i mówi, “Ależ, niech mnie piekło pochłonie, gdy nie waży pięć funtów!” i obrócił ją do góry nogami, a ona beknęła dwie garście śruta. A zrozumiałem, co się stało, i był najrozgniewanym człowiekiem—położył żabę i wybiegł za gościa, ale nigdy nie go chwycił. A——

[Teraz Simon Wheeler słyszał kogoś wołając jego imię z podwórka, i wstał, żeby dowiedzieć się, o to chodziło.] Wychodząc, odwrócił i powiedział: “Proszę siedź, tam gdzie jesteś, obcy, i odpoczywaj—wracam zaraz.”

Ale, jeżeli pozwolisz, myślałem, że dalszy ciąg historii ambitnego włóczęgi Jim Smiley nie udostępniłby mi dużo informacji o ojcu Leonidas W. Smiley, a z tego powodu wybierałem się.

Przed drzwi spotkałem towarzyskiego Wheeler wracając, a on zatrzymał mnie i rozpoczął znowu:

“Dobrze, ten Smiley miał żółtą jednooką krowę, która nie miała żadnego ogona, tylko krótki kikut przypominający banan, i——”

“Do diabła ze Smiley i jego przeklętą krową!” sarknąłem, dobrodusznie, i żegnając ze starcem, odszedłem.

About famous jumping frog from Calaveras

Translated back into English

Accordingly with wish of good friend of mine, who wrote to me from east, I assembled visit towards good-spirited, chatty Simon Wheeler, and asked about colleague of my friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, so how requested, and here I append outcome. I have lurking-itself idea, that this Leonidas W. Smiley it myth; that my friend never not knew of such personage; and that he only supposed, that asking Wheeler about him, would remind him of his famous Jim Smiley, and he would start to bore me with some choleric memory of him, so long and arduous how for me ineffective. If it was intention, undoubtedly it reached success.

I touched myself on Simon Wheeler, napping comfortably beside of oven of old falling-itself-apart inn in ancient camp of mining Angel's Camp, and I noticed, that he was fat and bald, and had on peaceful face, face of gentleness and simplicity. He pulled himself up and me saluted. I told him, that my friend me requested, that I asked about valued comrade of his youth, called Leonidas W. Smiley—father Leonidas W. Smiley, young minister of Gospel, about whom he heard, that he sometime lived in Angel's Camp. I added, that if Mr. Wheeler could tell something about this father Leonidas W. Smiley, it I would be to him obligated.

Simon Wheeler pushed me in corner and blocked me with chair, and then sat me and told monotonous history, who follows this paragraph. He never not smiled himself, not wrinkled of eyebrows, not changed of voice from fluid intonation of beginning sentence, not showed least track of enthusiasm; rather through whole unceasing history swam note of imposing sincerity, who showed me brightly, that not only he not felt whatever of stupid or funny in his history, he treated her as forsooth serious matter, and admired her two heroes as people, who had transcendent genius in finesse. Spectacle of human drifting peacefully through so strange tale, without of smiling himself, me seemed itself markedly absurdly. As I introduced, I asked him about that, what he knew about father Leonidas W. Smiley, and he replied with following paragraphs. I allowed, that he wandered himself, without of interruption.

Was here sometime guy after name Jim Smiley, with winter of fortieth ninth—or can with spring of fiftieth—I not remember exactly, somehow, but it, what inclines me to believing, that it was or one or second, is it, that I remember, that big canal was not finished when first he came on camp; in every case, he was most unusual human, as never you not saw, about betting himself on whatever thing, if he managed to convince someone to undertaking bet about second side; and if he not managed, he would select second side alone. Whatever method, who satisfied of second, satisfied him—whatever method, who got towards him bet. But always he had luck, uncanny luck; almost always he won. He was always prepared and sought of chance; not was of none mentioned thing without of it, that guy proposed bet about it; and he would select whatever side, so as I said. If was race equine, he stood or rich, or rinsed on end; if was fight of dogs, he risked about it; if was fight of cats, he risked about it; if was fight of roosters, he risked about it; well, if two birdies sat on fence, he risked about first, who would fly out; or if was gathering on camp, he frequented there, in order to risk about pastor Walker, about whom he judged, that he was best preacher, and so he was, and good person. Even if he saw beetle walking somewhere, he would undertake bet about how long lasted his journey, and if you undertook second side, he would follow bug to Mexico, in order to find out himself his destiny and how long he was on road. Many from neighborhood knows this Smiley, and can tell about him. Well, never not was meaning towards him—he was willing to risk about everything—uncanny guy. Wife of pastor Walker lay very sick, through long time, and similarly she would perish; but of certain day pastor walked in, and Smiley asked about wife, and he replied, that she was markedly better—thanks towards God for His limitless mercy—and she improved so well, that with blessing of providence, she would recover at last; and Smiley, without of thinking, said, “Therefore, I will risk two and half, that she will not recover, despite everything.”

This Smiley had mare—she called fifteen-minute nag, but only jokingly, you know, because obviously, she was faster—he used to earn money with that mare, in front of it, that she was so slow and always suffered on asthma, or scrofula, or consumption, or something of similar. They customed themselves to give her advantage of two hundred or three hundred of yards, and then pass her in road; however always at end of race she became herself unnerved and like unreasonable, and she approached cavorting and gamboling, and throwing legs agilely, sometimes to mountain and sometimes to side before fences, and uplifting m‑o‑r‑e of dust, and making m‑o‑r‑e of noise with her coughing and sneezing and blowing herself her nose—and always she arrived to tribune almost neck earlier, or so close of it, as possible.

And he had little puppy, whose appearance gave out impression, that not he was worthy for nothing, besides to laze and to appear irritable, and to seek of chance of stealing something. However when money depended from him, he was second dog; his jaw stuck out like forecastle of steamboat, and his teeth exposed themselves, and shone sharply like ovens. And can, some dog beat him, and harassed him, and bit him, and threw him upon shoulders tw- or thrice, and Andrew Jackson—it was name of doggy—Andrew Jackson never not gave off nothing of different than of it, that he was satisfied, and not expected nothing of different—and stakes continually doubled and doubled from opposite side, until whole sum stood risked; and suddenly he seized joint of back leg of second dog and squeezed—not chewed, you know, but only caught and held on himself until second gave up himself, even if it lasted year. Smiley always won from cause of this doggy, until to he touched himself on dog, who not had of back legs, because they were sawed off by circular saw, and when matter was well advanced, and whole sum stood risked, and he undertook to do his favorite mouthful, he gave himself matter of it, that played towards him trick, and as he stood driven in caprine horn, so speaking, and appeared surprised, and next he gave off himself like as discouraged, and stopped to try himself to win fight, and so sustained terrible defeat. He looked himself on Smiley, so as he wanted to express, that his heart was broken, and that he was guilty, for giving towards him opponent, who not had of none back legs for biting, who was his main possibility in fight, and he limped out upon piece of terrain and laid down and died. He was good puppy, this Andrew Jackson, and would be known if he lived, because spirit lived in him, and he had genius—I know it, because never not had of occasions worthy of telling, and not has of sense, that dog could fight so as he could, under circumstances, if not he had of talent. Always I feel myself regretfully, when I think about his last fight, and how herself she finished.

Well, this Smiley had terriers, and roosters, and tom-cats, and everything of this kind, so, that not possible to sleep, and not possible to find nothing, about which not he undertook bet. Of certain day he caught frog, and brought her to home, and said, that he intended to educate her, and therefore not he did nothing through three months besides teach towards frog to jump. And certainly towards her he taught, too. He gave towards her little punch from back, and next to see, that frog spun like wheel—that she performed somersault or pair, if she was well prepared, and fell flat on feet, whole and healthy, as cat. He trained her so well in field of catching flies, and practiced her so continually, that she caught fly every time, from so far, as she could see. Smiley ascertained, that frog only lacked education, in order to reach almost everything—and I believe towards him. I saw him, that he placed Dan'l Webster—Dan'l Webster it was name of frog—and shouted, “Flies, Dan'l, flies!” and faster from winking, she jumped in mountain, and snatched fly from this counter, and again flopped on floor, solid as clump of mud, and started to scratch herself side of head with back foot, so carefreely as if not she had idea, that she did nothing of special for frog. Never not you saw of such modest and straightforward frog so as her, in front of her possibilities. A when it walked about direct jumping from well flat level, she reached to bigger area with one jump that whatever member of her kind, whom whenever you saw. Jumping from well flat level was her strong side, you understand; and if it walked about it, Smiley would increase stake, while he would have cent. Smiley was hugely proud from his frog, and not without of reason, because people, who traveled and were everywhere, everybody said, that she overtopped upon whatever by-them-seen frog.

Smiley kept creature in latticed box, and used to carry her to town, from time to time, seeking bet. Of certain day, guest—unknown on camp, he was—touched himself on him with his box, and says:

“What can be it, what you have in box?”

And Smiley says, as if indifferently, “It can, that it is parrot, or can, that it is canary. It can be, but it is not—it only frog.”

Guest took her, and examined himself towards her carefully, and turned her there and with return, and says, “Well—so it is. To what does she serve?”

“Well,” says Smiley, easily and carefreely, “She serves enough to one thing, I judge. She jumps better from whatever frog in Calaveras.”

Guest again took box, and again looked triflingly, and gave back her Smileyward, and says, very carefully, “Well, I not see of no properties of this frog, who are better from whatever other frog.”

“Maybe not,” says Smiley. “Maybe you know frogs, and maybe you not of them know; maybe you are experienced, and maybe you are not only amateur, as if. Despite everything, I have my opinion, and I will bet forty of dollars on it, that she jumps better from whatever frog in Calaveras.”

And guest thought through moment, and then says, a little regretfully, “I am here only stranger, and not have of none frog; but if I had frog, I would accept bet.”

At once says Smiley, “In order—in order—if you will occupy yourself with box for minute, it I will bring towards you frog.” Therefore guest bet his forty of dollars beside of those of Smiley, and sat on waiting.

Therefore he sat through moment thinking himself, and then took out frog and opened her mouth and with spoon filled her with shot—filled her almost to beard—and placed her on floor. Smiley, he walked out to swamp and dragged himself in mud, and at last caught frog, and gathered her, and gave her guestward, and says:

“And therefore, if you are ready, it place her beside of Dan'l, with front paws equal with Dan'l, and I will give command.” Then he says, “Time—two—three—jump!” and he and guest touched to frogs from behind, and new frog jumped out, but Dan'l tried herself to lift herself, and shrugged shoulders—so—as Frenchman, but not she gave herself advice—not she could budge herself; she stood so solid as anvil, and not she could move herself farther, than as if she were anchored. Smiley became very surprised, and also felt disgust, but not had of none idea, what was matter, naturally.

Guest gathered money and took out himself; and when he walked out through door, he pointed upon shoulders with thumb—so—on Dan'l, and says again, very carefully, “Well, I not see of no properties of this frog, who are better from whatever other frog.”

Smiley stood long, scratching himself head and looking on Dan'l, and at least he says, “But I wonder myself after what dogblood this frog gave up herself—I think myself if not has matter with her—she appears quite loose, somehow.” And he lifted Dan'l for nape, and raised her, and says, “But, let me hell absorb, if not she weighs five of pounds!” and turned her to mountain with feet, and she belched two handfuls of shot. And he understood, what itself happened, and was maddest human—he set down frog and ran out for guest, but never not him caught. And——

[Now Simon Wheeler heard someone calling his name from yard, and stood up, in order to find out himself, about it walked.] Walking out, he turned and said, “Please sit, there where you are, stranger, and rest—I return at once.”

But, if you will allow, I thought, that longer pull of history of ambitious vagabond Jim Smiley not would grant towards me much of information about father Leonidas W. Smiley, and from this reason I took out myself.

Through door I met sociable Wheeler returning, and he detained me and started again:

“Well, this Smiley had yellow one-eyed cow, who not had of none tail, only short stump reminding banana, and——”

“To devil with Smiley and his cursed cow!” I grumbled, good-spiritedly, and bidding farewell with old one, walked from.”