Mark Twain about a Frog and a French Writer

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),  the American Author who wrote and published his work under the name Mark Twain was a prolific writer of short stories as well.

 One of his most well-known stories was based on a Frog Jumping Competition.  Some of the participating frogs were given illustrious names and the story was written as only an American could in a genre of this nature, and needed the inimitable Mark Twain touch to make it big time.  This particular story named ‘The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County’ was a huge success in America.

 But there was an aftermath that was even more hilarious than the story.

 It happened when a French writer translated the story into French and pronounced that France didn’t laugh at it and that the story was therefore, not funny.  This annoyed the venerable Twain who then set about what he described as ‘The Re-Translation, Clawed Back from the French, Into A Civilized Language Once More, By Patient And Unremunerated Toil.’

 Twain then put the re-translation next to his original and it became obvious why the French never understood the story in the first place:

 The name of the frog that made the story was Daniel Webster.

 I have the original story, the various translations and including Twain’s written reactions on the events as well as the aftermath of the events on a CD but you may find it on Google.  Read it and enjoy.

 PS: Present day Americans and all ‘furriners’ may need to read up on where or how the famous frog got the name Daniel Webster, or you may miss the story too like the French did.


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