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Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка округа Калаверас — The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Transcript from The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867)

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

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 may be 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 solittry 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’s 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 inftnit mercy and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of Providence, she’d get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, «Well, I’ll risk two- and-a-half that she don’t, any way.»

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 cipher it down.

And he had a little small bull pup, that to look at him you’d think he wan’s 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 chew, you understand, but only jest grip and hang on till they thronged 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 bolt, 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 sur- prised, 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 bolt 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 may be 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.

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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, may be, 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.»

«May be you don’t,» Smiley says. «May be you understand frogs, and may be you don’t understand ’em; may be you’ve had experience, and may be 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 tea- spoon 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’s 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 ketchd 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 an’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.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Знаменитая лягушка-прыгунья округа Калаверас

Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка округа Калаверас (The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County) — это рассказ о Марке Твене , впервые опубликованный в первой версии в 1865 году в нью-йоркской газете Saturday Press , а затем возобновленный в том же объеме, первый авторский, в 1867 году , и переизданный в « Старом и новом очерках» в 1875 году , сопровождаемый французским переводом. Эта сказка — одна из самых первых, благодаря которой он получил всенародное признание, и до сих пор остается одной из самых известных его сказок.

Резюме

  • 1 Резюме
  • 2 Редакции, прием и противоречие
  • 3 Юбилей прыгающей лягушки, документальный фильм и фильмы
  • 4 Библиография
    • 4.1 Редакции
    • 4.2 Переводы и др.
    • 4.3 Статьи
  • 5 Прыгающая лягушка .
  • 6 Примечания и ссылки
  • 7 См. Также
    • 7.1 Статьи по теме
    • 7.2 Внешние ссылки

резюме

Рассказчик рассказывает историю Саймон Уилер рассказал ему о компульсивного картежника по имени Джим Смайли.

По просьбе своего друга рассказчик посещает Саймона Уиллера, чтобы узнать новости о Леонидасе В. Смайли. Рассказчик подозревает, что это шутка , тем более что, как только имя Смайли (по имени Джим ) упоминается, Уиллер, загнавший своего собеседника в угол, начинает рассказывать ему монотонным тоном длинную бурлескную историю, глубоко глубоко пронзительную утомляет автора.

Джим Смайли — заядлый игрок, делающий ставки на самые странные вещи, на смерть такого человека, как его собака Эндрю Джексон, и даже на птиц . Один день , незнакомец соглашается сделать ставку $ 40 , что Джим лягушки , названный Dan’l Webster, может быть избитым на скачку. Пока Джим отправляется искать лягушку для своего противника, последний заставляет Дэна проглотить шарики, которые под тяжестью веса не могут прыгнуть. Джим проигрывает пари, но, осознав обман, отправляется в погоню за незнакомцем.

В этот момент Уиллера прерывают, он оставляет рассказчика на несколько минут, который пользуется возможностью, чтобы попытаться сбежать. Но когда он уходит, Уилер возвращается и начинает рассказывать ему еще одну историю о Смайли, у которого «была желтая одноглазая корова, у которой не было хвоста или почти не было хвоста, только немного. Длиной с банан. , а также… «. Рассказчик с отвращением уходит.

Издательство, прием и полемика

Твен дал некоторую информацию в своей автобиографии о происхождении этого текста. Примерно в 1865 году Артемас Уорд читал лекции и был в Калифорнии , и именно в Сан-Франциско Твен рассказал ему историю прыгающей лягушки. Уорд попросил его записать его, чтобы включить в готовящуюся книгу . Но к тому времени, когда Твен закончил писать, книга уже была близка к печати, поэтому издатель, Карлтон, отправил статью в Saturday Press , газете, которая близилась к концу, и она опубликовала ее. Ноябрь 1865 г. под названием « Джим Смайли и его прыгающая лягушка» . Текст стал очень популярным и был быстро переиздан во многих журналах и газетах, что побудило автора сделать его своей первой книгой, включая другие сказки того же периода, из которых было взято первое издание, всего 1000 экземпляров.

Джеймс Рассел Лоуэлл назвал текст «лучшим юмором, написанным в Америке», но Твен был несколько разочарован приемом, поскольку он не очень высоко ценил литературное качество своей работы.

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Текст был переведен на французский язык в 1872 году Терезой Бентзон и опубликован в « Ревю де де Монд» . Этот перевод известен тем, что вызвал у автора резкий отклик.

Фактически Твен отредактировал исходный текст, сопровождаемый этим французским переводом, сам дословно переведя на английский язык , сохранив французскую грамматику . Он хотел показать, что американский юмор полностью утерян при переводе на литературный французский язык, очень далеко от американской традиции устного повествования ( небылицы ). Таким образом, Твен хотел отметить различие, которое, по его мнению, существует между национальными формами юмора:

«Юмористическая сказка — американская, комическая — английская, духовная сказка — французская. Эффект от юмористической истории зависит от того, как она рассказана; история комической и духовной зависит от предмета. «

Таким образом, по мнению Твена, устный характер рассказа, то есть способ его рассказа, абсолютно необходимо уважать, чтобы сохранить его юмористическую силу.

Другой известный анекдот о восприятии этого текста — это его адаптация Артуром Сиджвиком в « Греческой прозе» под названием «Афинянин и лягушка» , в котором он не упомянул автора, поскольку считал ее достаточно хорошо известной всем. Но это сделали люди считают , что эта тема действительно греческого происхождения, впечатление усиливается определенным сходством с Эзопа басней , а сам Марк Твен был близок к вере его, пока он не встретил сам Сиджвик, в 1899 году, который прояснил ситуацию. Марк Твен пересказывает этот анекдот в тексте издания 1903 года.

Юбилей прыгающей лягушки, документальный фильм и фильмы

Каждый год в округе Калаверас проводятся соревнования по прыжкам с лягушками , Jumping Frog Jubilee , в честь творчества Марка Твена. Режиссер Джастин Bookey сделал документальный фильм в 2005 году , вдохновленный рассказ Твена озаглавленную Перейти . В телесериале « Мы чемпионы» Эпизод режиссера Брайана Голдена Дэвиса «Прыжки лягушки» посвящен тому же соревнованию и упоминает историю Марка Твена, говоря: «Это круто, погуглите».

Лягушка Известный также была адаптирована в двух фильмах с тем же названием: Приключения Марка Твена (в 1944 фильма и 1985 анимационный фильм (в) ) и Best Man Wins (в) .

Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка округа Калаверас — The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Не «Приключения Тома Сойера», не «Приключения Гекльберри Финна», не «Принц и нищий», а

«Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка из Калавераса» (англ. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ), небольшой рассказ, который привлек к Марку Твену внимание всей страны.

Рассказ был опубликован в The New York Saturday Press (англ «Субботняя пресса» — литературная газета, издававшейся в Нью-Йорке с 1858 по 1860 г. и с 1865 по 1866 г.) 18 ноября 1865 года под названием «Джим Смайли и его прыгающая лягушка». В 1867 году рассказ вошёл в одноимённый сборник, включавший более двадцати новелл Марка Твена.

В «Частной истории истории о «Прыгающей лягушке»» Твен рассказывает, как он столкнулся с некоторым плагиатом этой истории из маловероятного источника. Писатель был удивлен, обнаружив, что история о лягушке была взята из древнегреческой легенды: «Возникает интересный вопрос: случился ли эпизод с лягушкой в Энджел Кемп (Angels Camp, Лагерь ангелов, Калифорния) весной 49-го, как было сказано на моих слушаниях в тот день осенью 1865-го? Я совершенно уверен, что это так. Я также уверен, что его дубликат произошел в Беотии пару тысяч лет назад. Я думаю, это должен быть случай фактического повторения истории, а не случай, когда хорошая история течет сквозь века и выживает, потому что слишком хороша, чтобы позволить погибнуть».

О популярности рассказа можно судить по мнению критика, неодобрительно встретившего «Приключения Гекльберри Финна» в 1884 году:

Бессовестная насмешка над самыми чистыми помыслами… Мистер Клеменс нарушает все мыслимые правила приличия.

Очень возможно, что через сто лет Твена будут помнить только по «Знаменитой скачущей лягушке…».

Чем же так интересна «Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка из Калавераса»?

  • История о Смайли и его воспитаннице послужила поводом для организации «лягушачьих скачек», которые проводятся в Энджелс Кемп с 1928 года. В программе соревнований — не только состязание земноводных, но и чтение рассказа Марка Твена «Знаменитая скачущая лягушка из Калавераса». Мероприятие ежегодно собирает до 35 000 зрителей; приз победителю составляет 5000 долларов. Преемницей «литературной лягушки» является Роззи — рекордсменка, совершившая в середине 1980-х годов «тройной шестиметровый прыжок».
  • Лукас Фосс написал оперу «Прыгающая лягушка округа Калаверас» в двух сценах с либретто Жана Карсавины по рассказу Твена. Премьера оперы состоялась 18 мая 1950 года в Университете Индианы.

Обложку самой первой его книги украшала огромная лягушка ярко-желтого цвета, резко выступающая на блеклом, светло-кремовом фоне переплета. Таких лягушек в природе не бывает. Но Твен ведь и написал о лягушке поистине необыкновенной.

Об этой лягушке рассказывали в любом старательском лагере. А еще раньше ту же самую историю можно было услышать в родных краях Твена. Или даже прочитать ее в газетах, издававшихся на периферии, в глубинке. Нашли несколько напечатанных вариантов этого рассказа. И все-таки лягушку из Калавераса прославил не кто иной, как Марк Твен.

А что в ней было особенного, в этой лягушке? Да ничего, просто она умела очень далеко прыгать. Настоящий чемпион по прыжкам что в длину, что в высоту — при слове «мухи» взвивалась в воздух, переворачивалась, как оладья на сковородке, и, схватив муху на лету, скромненько приземлялась на свое место. Звали эту лягушку Дэниел Уэбстер — в честь одного известного американского политического деятеля. У нее был хозяин, Джим Смайли, живший в рудничном поселке, как раз в центре фронтира. Он изловил Дэниела на болоте, долго с ним возился, обучая всяким фокусам, и утверждал, что лягушки необычайно понятливы, надо только дать им особое лягушачье образование, а так они на все способны.

На Дальнем Западе, пожалуй, не отыскалось бы человека, который хоть краем уха не слыхал, как, понадеявшись на удивительный талант Дэниела, Джим Смайли проиграл на пари сорок долларов объявившемуся в Калаверасе незнакомцу. Твен записал этот случай почти в точности так, как его не раз при нем излагали: незнакомец усомнился в способностях Дэниела, принял пари и, пока Смайли ловил для него другую лягушку, всыпал в пасть чемпиону пригоршню перепелиной дроби, так что бедная знаменитость не смогла сдвинуться с места. В общем-то печальная повесть об обманутом доверии и о прилежании, которое пошло прахом.

Но под пером Твена эта повесть, уместившаяся в несколько страниц, смешит читателей вот уже второе столетие. В чем тут дело? Конечно, в том, что у Твена был неподражаемый юмористический дар. Только у каждого большого писателя юмор свой, неповторимый. И есть особые приметы твеновского юмора, которые станут видны, если прочесть тот же рассказ о лягушке по имени Дэниел Уэбстер внимательно.

До Твена рассказывали только про само состязание, в котором Дэниел осрамился не по своей вине. Выходил забавный анекдот о предприимчивом и находчивом госте Калавераса, который так ловко провел бахвала и упрямца Смайли. Получалась всего лишь колоритная картинка из жизни фронтира.

В рассказе Твена сохранена красочная атмосфера быта и нравов переселенцев. Мы отчетливо можем себе представить и этот поселок в несколько кривых улиц, уводящих в бескрайнюю прерию, и как попало одетых, давно не брившихся людей у входа в салун.

О самих лягушачьих скачках мы узнаем лишь под самый конец, а до этого Твен будет долго рассказывать о разных происшествиях из жизни Смайли. Твен? Нет, рассказывать будет некий Саймон Уилер, которому доверено вести повествование. Этот Уилер сам из Калавераса, он все видел своими глазами и все запомнил. Мы верим ему как свидетелю. Сочинителю мы бы так не поверили.

А самое важное — Уилер повествует по-особому. Здесь чуть не каждое слово сразу выдает человека с фронтира, у которого особые понятия о правдоподобном и невероятном, — ни за что не разобрать, где кончается одно и начинается другое. Рассказчику, во всяком случае, никто не докажет, что происшествие, о котором идет речь, — хоть отчасти легенда, а не доподлинный факт. Ведь на фронтире чего не случается, каких только не встретишь чудаков и одержимых, фантазеров и упрямцев!

Со стороны покажется: еще одна небылица, которую придумали, чтобы веселее скоротать вечер в компании приятелей, собравшихся посудачить о том о сем. А для Уилера это совершенно реальный эпизод из повседневного быта затерявшегося среди прерии Калавераса.

Поэтому он и рассказывает очень серьезно, ни разу не улыбнувшись, ничем не выказав, что находит в своем повествовании что-то странное или веселое. Он вовсе не шутит. И Смайли, и незнакомца он считает отменными ловкачами, перед которыми остается лишь снять шляпу. Ему ужасно интересно, кто кому натянет нос, он в восторге от всякой лукавой проделки и, увлекшись ею, перестает относиться к знаменитому пара как к игре — лягушачьи состязания для него событие серьезное, и от слушателей он тоже ожидает серьезности, а не хохота.

Прочитать рассказ «Знаменитая прыгающая лягушка из Калавераса» можно, например, здесь

Адаптированные аудиокниги на английском языке. Марк Твен.

Марк Твен: «Знаменитая скачущая лягушка из Калавераса»

Адаптированная аудиокнига на английском языке рассказа Марка Твена «Знаменитая скачущая лягушка из Калавераса».

Рассказывает Шеп О’Нил.

Our story is called «The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.» It was written by Mark Twain. Here is Shep O’Neal with the story.

A friend of mine in the East asked me to visit old Simon Wheeler, to ask about my friends friend, Leonidas W. Smiley. I did as my friend asked me to do and this story is the result.

I found Simon Wheeler sleeping by the stove in the ruined mining camp of Angels.

I saw that he was fat and had no hair, and had a gentle and simple look upon his peaceful face. He woke up, and gave me «good-day.» I told him a friend had asked me to find out about a friend named Leonidas W. Smiley, who he heard was at one time living in Angels Camp. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel a great responsibility to him.

Simon Wheeler forced me into a corner with his chair and began telling me this long story. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice. But all through the endless story there was a feeling of great seriousness and honesty. This showed me plainly that he thought the heroes of the story were men of great intelligence.

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I let him go on in his own way, and never stopped him once. This is the story Simon Wheeler told.

Leonidas W. …. hm… Le… well, there was a man here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of eighteen forty-nine — or may be it was the spring of eighteen-fifty. Anyway, he was the strangest man. He was always making money on anything that turned up if he could get anybody to try to make money on the other side. And if he could not do that, he would change sides.

And he was lucky, uncommon lucky. He most always was a winner. If there was a dog-fight, he would try to win money on it. If there was a cat-fight, he would take the risk. If there was a chicken-fight, he would try to win money on it. Why, if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would want you to decide which one would fly first so he could win money.

Lots of the boys here have seen that Smiley and can tell you about him. Why, it did not matter to him. He would try to make money on anything. He was the most unusual man. Parson Walkers wife was very sick once, for a long time, and it seemed as if they were not going to save her.

But one morning he come in, and Smiley asked him how was his wife, and he said she was better, thank God. And Smiley, before he thought, says, «Well, Ill risk my money she will not get well.»

And Smiley had a little small dog. To look at the dog, you would think he was not worth anything but to sit around and look mean and look for a chance to steal something. But as soon as there was money, he was a different dog. Another dog might attack and throw him around two or three times. Then all of a sudden Smiley’s dog would grab that other dog by his back leg and hang on till the men said it was over.

Smiley always come out the winner on that dog, at least until he found a dog once that did not have any back legs. The dog’s legs had been cut off in a machine. Well, the fighting continued long enough, and the money was gone. Then when Smiley’s dog come to make a grab the other dog’s back legs, he saw in a minute how there was a problem.

The other dog was going to win and Smiley’s dog looked surprised and did not try to win the fight anymore. He gave Smiley a look that said he was sorry for fighting a dog that did not have any back legs for him to hold, which he needed to win a fight. Then Smiley’s dog walked away, laid down and died. He was a good dog, and would have made a name for himself if he had lived, for he had intelligence. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his and the way it turned out.

Well, this Smiley had rats, and chickens, and cats and all of them kind of things. You could not get anything for him to risk money on but he would match you. He caught a frog one day, and took him home, and said he was going to educate the frog. And so he never done nothing for three months but sit in his back yard and teach that frog to jump. And you bet you he did teach him, too.

He would give him a little hit from behind. And the next minute you would see that frog dancing in the air and then come down all on his feet and all right, like a cat. Smiley got him so the frog was catching flies, and he would catch one of those insects every time.

Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do almost anything. And I believe him. Why, I have seen him set Danl Webster down here on this floor — Danl Webster was the name of the frog — and sing out, «Flies, Danl, flies!» And quicker than you could shut your eyes that frog would jump straight up and catch a fly off the table. Then he would fall down on the floor again like a ball of dirt and start rubbing the side of his head with his back foot as if he had no idea he had been doing any more than any frog might do.

You never seen a frog so honest and simple as he was, for all he was so skilled. And when it come to jumping, he could get over more ground in one jump than any animal of his kind that you ever saw.

Smiley was very proud of his frog, and people who had traveled and been everywhere all said he was better than any frog they had ever seen.

Well, one day a stranger came in and says to Smiley, «What might be that you have got in the box?»

And Smiley says, «It’s only just a frog.» And the man took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, «Hm, so it is. Well, what is he good for?»

«Well,» Smiley says, easy and careless, «he can out jump any frog in Calaveras county.»

The man took the box again, and took another long look, and gave it back to Smiley, and says, «Well, I dont see anything about that frog that is any better than any other frog.»

«Maybe you dont,» Smiley says. «Maybe you understand frogs and maybe you dont. Anyways, I will risk forty dollars and bet you that he can jump farther than any frog in Calaveras County.»

And the man studied a minute. «Well, Im only a stranger here, and I do not have a frog. But if I had a frog, I would risk my money on it.

And then Smiley says, «Thats all right. If you will hold my box a minute, I will go and get you a frog.» And so the man took the box, and put up his forty dollars and sat down to wait.

He sat there a long time thinking and thinking. Then he got the frog out of the box. He filled its mouth full of bullets used to kill small birds. Then he put the frog on the floor.

Now Smiley had caught another frog and gave it to the man and said, «Now sit him next to Dan’l and I will give the word.»

Then Smiley says, «One-two-three-go!» and Smiley and the other man touched the frogs.

The new frog jumped. Dan’l just lifted up his body but could not move at all. He was planted like a building. Smiley was very surprised and angry too. But he did not know what the problem was.

The other man took the money and started away. And when he was going out the door, he looked back and said «Well, I don’t see anything about that frog that is any better than any other frog.»

Smiley stood looking down at Danl a long time, and at last says, «I wonder what in the nation happened to that frog. I wonder if there is something wrong with him.»

And he picked up Dan’l and turned him upside down and out came a whole lot of bullets. And Smiley was the angriest man. He set the frog down and took out after that man but he never caught him.

Now Simon Wheeler heard his name called and got up to see what was wanted. He told me to wait but I did not think that more stories about Jim Smiley would give me any more information about Leonidas W. Smiley, and so I started to walk away.

At the door I met Mr. Wheeler returning, and he started talking again. «Well, this here Smiley had a yellow cow with one eye and no tail…»

However, lacking both time and interest, I did not wait to hear about the cow. I just left.

ANNOUNCER: You have heard the American Story «The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.» Your storyteller was Shep O’Neal. This story was written by Mark Twain and adapted into Special English by Karen Leggett. Listen again next week at this time for another American Story in VOA Special English. I’m Faith Lapidus.

File:1867. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches.djvu

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Описание 1867. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches.djvu867. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches
Датамежду 1935 и 1910
  • : Q7245
  • VIAF: 50566653
  • ISNI: 0000 0003 6864 1704
  • ULAN: 500020427
  • RSL: 000083946
  • Open Library: OL18319A
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