Who was the trickster figure in "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"?How would you describe him?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several tricksters in Mark Twain's "The Celebrated (or Notorious) Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The first is the talkative slacker, Simon Wheeler, who the narrator seeks out for information about the Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley. Wheeler has no tales to tell about the Reverend Smiley, but he does launch into a long-winded narrative about one Jim Smiley, a degenerate gambler who was "always betting on any thing that turned up..." Smiley eventually met up with the real trickster of the story, an unnamed man--

"... a feller—a stranger in the camp—"

who agreed to take Jim's bet concerning Smiley's prize bullfrog, Dan'l Webster. Smiley bet the stranger that Dan'l could "outjump any frog in Calaveras County." The stranger took the bet, but in order to insure his winning, he filled Dan'l's belly with a spoonful of "quail shot" when Smiley wasn't looking. When it came time for Dan'l to jump,

"Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders so, like a Frenchman, but it warn't no use--he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as an anvil, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out."

The stranger took Smiley's money, leaving Dan'l with his first loss at frog-jumping. Smiley only found out later about the stranger's ruse, when he

"... lifted him up and says, 'Why, blame my cats, if he don't weigh five pound!' and turned him upside down, and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man. He set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never ketched him..."

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