The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 361 pages of information about The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories.

Yes, the Lex Falkenhayn was a great invention, and did what was claimed for it—­it got the government out of the frying-pan.

[1] That is, revolution.

[2] ’In that gracious bygone time when a mild and good-tempered spirit was the atmosphere of our House, when the manner of our speakers was studiously formal and academic, and the storms and explosions of to-day were wholly unknown,’ etc.—­Translation of the opening remark of a leading article in this morning’s ‘Neue Freie Presse,’ December 11.

[3] It is the 9th.—­M.T.

PRIVATE HISTORY OF THE ‘JUMPING FROG’ STORY

Five or six years ago a lady from Finland asked me to tell her a story in our Negro dialect, so that she could get an idea of what that variety of speech was like.  I told her one of Hopkinson Smith’s Negro stories, and gave her a copy of ‘Harper’s Monthly’ containing it.  She translated it for a Swedish newspaper, but by an oversight named me as the author of it instead of Smith.  I was very sorry for that, because I got a good lashing in the Swedish press, which would have fallen to his share but for that mistake; for it was shown that Boccaccio had told that very story, in his curt and meagre fashion, five hundred years before Smith took hold of it and made a good and tellable thing out of it.

I have always been sorry for Smith.  But my own turn has come now.  A few weeks ago Professor Van Dyke, of Princeton, asked this question: 

‘Do you know how old your “Jumping Frog” story is?’

And I answered: 

’Yes—­forty-five years.  The thing happened in Calaveras County, in the spring of 1849.’

’No; it happened earlier—­a couple of thousand years earlier; it is a Greek story.’

I was astonished—­and hurt.  I said: 

’I am willing to be a literary thief if it has been so ordained; I am even willing to be caught robbing the ancient dead alongside of Hopkinson Smith, for he is my friend and a good fellow, and I think would be as honest as any one if he could do it without occasioning remark; but I am not willing to antedate his crimes by fifteen hundred years.  I must ask you to knock off part of that.’

But the professor was not chaffing:  he was in earnest, and could not abate a century.  He offered to get the book and send it to me and the Cambridge text-book containing the English translation also.  I thought I would like the translation best, because Greek makes me tired.  January 30th he sent me the English version, and I will presently insert it in this article.  It is my ‘Jumping Frog’ tale in every essential.  It is not strung out as I have strung it out, but it is all there.

To me this is very curious and interesting.  Curious for several reasons.  For instance: 

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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.