These stories are extracted from the book A string of Chinese peach-stones by Cornaby, W. Arthur (William Arthur), 1860-1921, Published in 1895, Americana.
The Bittern and the Mussel.
Fable of the Bittern the Mussel. A mussel was sunning itself by the river bank, when a bittern came by and pecked at it. The mussel closed its shell and nipped the bird’s beak. Hereupon the bittern said, ‘If you don’t let me go to-day, if you don’t let me go to-morrow, there will be a dead mussel.’ The shell-fish answered, ‘ If I don’t come out to-day, if I don’t come out to-morrow, there will surely be a dead bittern.’ Just then a fisherman came by and seized the pair of them.” The moral of which word to the wise will be sufficiently obvious to the youngest reader.