"Well, you know," Darwin said, "that General Tsao was captured once, and the opposing forces cut off his ear and sent it to his wife with a demand for ransom. She inspected it and said, "I certainly can't make a silk purse out of a Tsao's ear."
"No, no," I objected. "She was a frugal woman. She used it to make Tsao-ear dough bread."
"But a German doctor sewed it back on, and he was known ever after as the Tsao-ear kraut."
"When he came home," Darwin continued, "he told her, 'You ruined my life, you fat Tsao.' Then when he retired he tried to run a vineyard, but all he could raise were Tsao-er grapes."
"When he got drunk," I wheezed, "she yelled, 'Tsao-ced again.'"
"But she was his lawfully wedded Tsao-ce."
"The neighbors heard the General screaming at his angry wife, but they didn't call the police because it was only the Tsaound and the Fury."
"His wife had several children from a previous marriage," said Darwin, "and people asked him why they had a different last name, he said, 'I have reaped what I did not Tsao.'"
"She said, 'Tsao be it.'"
"While he was still in the army, his maneuvers brought him within a few miles of his house, but he couldn't get away to go visit home. When his wife heard about it, she said, 'Tsao close and yet Tsao far.'"
We had devolved to that disgraceful point where we were nearly choked with mirth at our own cleverness, but whatever crowning witticism might have capped Tsao's saga was lost because at that moment Baby gave a mournful wail for Ma-ma, and for our sins we spent the rest of the night with a feverish child between us, and occasionally throwing up on us. The bug seemed to be a 24-hour thing, but we suspect it might have been a case of General Tsao's Revenge.