Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/315

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PART III

CHINESE FABLES

THE BITTERN AND THE MUSSEL

NCE on the bank of the River Yi a Mussel was basking in the sunshine. All at once a Bittern, happening to pass by, discovered the Mussel and pecked at it. The Mussel snapped its shell together and nipped the bird's beak; but no matter how tightly the Mussel nipped, the bird would not withdraw his beak. Presently the Bittern said:

"If you don't open your shell to-day, if you don't open your shell to-morrow, there will be a dead Mussel."

The shell-fish said in reply:

"If you don't take your beak out to-day, if you don't take your beak out to-morrow, there will be a dead Bittern."

But as neither could make up its mind to loose its hold upon the other, a fisherman, who happened to come that way, seized the pair of them and carried them off for his dinner.

(Translated from the Chinese by C. Arendt. China Review Vol. 12, p. 62.)


THE FOX AND THE TIGER

ONCE upon a time the Tiger was in the habit of chasing all the beasts of the forests and devouring them. Among others he one day caught a fox, and prepared to dine on him. But the Fox said:

"You must not eat me. For the Lord of Heaven has appointed me

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