The Story Behind 'The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County'

By Karen Harris
A young boy encourages his frog to perform a long jump. AFP PHOTO Source: (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)

American author Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, had a way of crafting memorable stories with colorful characters. Several of his books and short stories were based on actual events or people that Clemens had met. One of his more amusing short stories was “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Despite what you may have heard, Clemens/Twain didn’t write about an established event or witness a frog jumping contest. His story is merely a clever retelling of a bar story he heard. But the short story did create a whole new industry for Calaveras County, California—frog tourism.