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Jim Smiley's frog, Dan'l Webster, was a well-trained amphibian that Smiley used to enhance his winnings at gambling. Smiley had invested heavily in Dan'l. Although he was just a common bullfrog that Smiley had caught, Smiley spent three months "educating" him. When Dan'l had been fully trained, simply by giving him "a little pinch behind," Smiley could get Dan'l to jump "whirling in the air like a doughnut ... turn one summerset, or maybe a couple ... and come down flat footed and all right, like a cat." Smiley also trained Dan'l to catch flies on command. This advanced education didn't go to Dan'l's head, however, according to the story's narrator, Simon Wheeler: "You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted."

One day a stranger came to town, and Smiley invited him to put up a frog to jump against Dan'l in a contest. The stranger said he would if he only had a frog; Smiley graciously offered to catch him one. That left Dan'l alone with the stranger, who "got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot--filled him pretty near up to his chin." Loaded as he was with lead pellets, Dan'l was unable to jump; he just "hysted up his shoulders--so--like a Frenchman." Smiley had to pay off the stranger, who left quickly. Only then did Smiley pick Dan'l up and realize he weighed almost five pounds. Smiley turned Dan'l upside down, and the frog "belched out a double handful of shot." 

Simon Wheeler never told his listener whether Dan'l was able to continue his jumping career. 

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