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Tom Sun’s ‘Little Game’

Author’s note: While doing research for another of my many history projects, I came across the following article – or spoof – which may be of interest to Wyoming Livestock Roundup Publisher Dennis Sun. It appeared as a column in the Platte Valley Lyre, Saratoga’s first newspaper, and was written by George R. Caldwell, who was the editor and publisher. Caldwell was also known as the “lurid lair of the West,” so take the information with a grain of salt. Just enjoy. Maybe Dennis could add some information about this newspaper article written in 1897. – Dick Perue.

The column reads:

“Mrs. Tom Sun is quite a fancier in fine chickens – the gigantic Plymouth Rock variety being her favorite. As these chickens eat nearly as much as so many horses, Mr. Sun had long thought that the few eggs and the far-between chicken dinners were scant returns for the many bushels of grain buried in the mighty Plymouth Rock craw.

“After many self-communings, Tom visited the neighboring Butler ranch. Mr. Butler is also a chicken fancier, but his fowl fancy runs to game instead of Plymouth Rock stock.

“When Mr. Sun left Mr. Butler’s ranch he carried under his arm a very dainty, but also very dangerous, cock of the purest game strain. Timing his arrival at home well after darkness had set in, Mr. Sun carefully placed the new rooster in the ranch poultry house and with an expectant chuckle and an elastic conscience, retired for the night.

“Mrs. Sun arose betimes next morning, and after breakfast sallied forth to once again inspect her beloved Plymouth Rocks. But – catastrophe of catastrophes – every one of her great and gluttonous roosters lay dead in the yard, while a little game cock was perched on the highest post of the poultry yard fence, and far and wide echoed his shrill crow of triumph and of defiant challenge to any Plymouth Rock who might yet chance to be alive on the Tom Sun or any other ranch.

“‘What little rooster is that?’ shrieked Mrs. Tom. ‘Well I declare,’ said Mr. Tom, who just then put in an innocent appearance, ‘That must be one of Butler’s game cocks that has come all the way over here to get a fight out of your Plymouth Rocks. You bet, Mrs. Sun, the Butler roosters are fighters from way back. Don’t you think so?’ 

But Mrs. Sun was in no mood just then to subscribe with any degree of enthusiasm to the pugnacious qualities of the Butler game cocks and, in fact, spent the next hour in a more or less ungracefully and highly unsuccessful attempt to slay that particular ‘fighter from way back,’ with a long pole.”