Posts Tagged ‘Greek Mythology’

It’s all about frogs in my little corner of the world this weekend. Every May, the long legged green guys descend on Calaveras County – population about 40,000 – to compete in the granddaddy of all jumping frog competitions, the Jumping Frog Jubilee.

Their handlers and jockeys have been preparing for this weekend since the end of May last year. It’s actually pretty in-depth. They need to know frogs, such as which pond, stream of Delta waterway will produce the best jumpers; how to construct frog carriers designed to keep the frogs at the best temperature while traveling to the area for the competitions; along with making sure the frogs are well feed and not stressed. This is so they will jump their best.

At the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, there’s even a frog condominium to make sure the frogs don’t get too hot or too cold when waiting for their chance to compete. Either way, they will get sluggish and won’t jump well.

Lest you think the frogs are not treated well, the California Department of Fish and Game regulates the frogs’ welfare, and the 39th District Agricultural Board, that runs the event, adopted a “Frog Welfare Policy” in 1995 to ensure the frogs are taken care of.

The world record setting jump is held by Rosie the Ribeter, who in 1986 jumped 21’ 53/4”. She won $5,000 for the jump.

The competition has been going on in Calaveras County since 1928 and is a direct result of an ultra-famous writer who made his way through the California Mother Lode in 1864, Mark Twain.

Twain, a.k.a, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, wrote “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” published in 1865 and later was published in Twain’s collection of short stories under the name of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. Either way, the tale set in Angels Camp features a man and his frog in a competition to win.

He couldn’t have known his short story would have such an impact on a community. Every year, thousands of people come into the County just to experience the phenomenon that has become The Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee.

He also didn’t seem to know when he wrote the story, that there was an ancient Greek version of the same tale. In an essay on the subject, he seemed rather surprised when a Princeton professor told him about that version, known as, “The Athenian and The Frog”.

Now, this may be another tall tale by Twain himself, but it does point out a truth none-the-less. That truth?  There is nothing new under the sun.

But, there is another truth shown through Twain, his short story and the Jumping Frog Jubilee. That truth? You never know who you may affect when you are passing through this world.

“ What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”   Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

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