Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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A Tall Ship Tale #68: Chou Time

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

Another episode from Paul DeAnguera.


“China had a feudal system much like Europe’s, only about a thousand years earlier,” Peabody commented as he led the Legume’s officers through the Chou dynasty’s palace in Loyang in the sixth century BC. “That depressed-looking fellow by the tapestry controls the Aral Lake region; he’s the Duke of Aral.” They exchanged bows with the gentleman and passed under a carved archway into the next chamber.

“And this man has devised a universal addressing system for the Chinese postal service; may I present the Duke of URL?”

They bowed to the scholarly-looking man, and were about to move on when the First Mate asked “And who is that?” They turned to regard a dissolute, wide-lipped fellow who was sprawled amid silk cushions, catamites and concubines.

The Duke of URL coughed in embarrassment and explained, “My brother has chosen to let the rest of the family run the empire while he devotes himself to carnal pleasures. May I present the Duke of…”

“No time to waste! The archives are through here,” Peabody urged them through a recessed door into a room cluttered with books and scrolls. “Excuse me! We are looking for a librarian named Lao-tzu,” he told the attendant.

The archivist shook his head sadly, and told them “We have not seen him for days. He spoke of going west to develop his new philosophy — Taoism as he calls it.”

“Then we must intercept him before the Brotherhood can burn his book,” Captain Quid decided. “But where in the mountains will we find him?”

The First Mate slapped his forehead and snatched a worn envelope out of his shirt. “Cilantro’s encrypted orders will tell us. Look!”

Your oar, dears! Art, to prose — cede to thee!
Why douse, Anisette? Fie, you’re due wit!

“Here’s what we thought it meant,” he said, pointing to Professor Hentrack’s translation:

YOUR ORDERS ARE TO PROCEED TO THE
WHITE HOUSE AND SET FIRE TO IT.

“But now I think what it’s really saying is this:”

YOUR ORDERS ARE TO PROCEED TO “THE
Y-TAOS” AND SET FIRE TO IT.

“If Lao-tzu follows the Yellow River to its source in the western mountains, and then he writes “The Book of Taoist Virtue” there, that will make his book “The Y-Taos! As you will observe, ‘Yellow’ starts with a Y.”

“Splendid!” Professor Peabody congratulated him with a hearty clap on the back. The First Mate subsided into a coughing fit. “And so we shall find him at the source of the Yellow River!” He gazed at a wall map of China for a moment. “Unless, of course, he went up the Yangtze River instead,” he added as an afterthought.

“But why would he do that?” the captain objected. “Loyang is close to the Yellow River.”

“The legend says that Lao-tzu was born in Ch’u. But if that were true, we should expect him to return there to write his book instead of going west. So I believe he really comes from somewhere in the west; from near the headwaters of the Yangtze, most likely. As they say,” he explained…

“…Yangtze go home!”

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