- c. 77 BCE - 6 BCE: Liu Xiang, Zhan Guo Ce, Strategies of Yan, Chapter 2 (战国策)
- When Zhao was about to attack Yan, Su Dai spoke to King Hui of Zhao on behalf of the king of Yan. He said, "On my way here today, as I crossed the Yi River, I spotted an oyster that had opened its shell to sun itself. Just then, a snipe began to peck at the flesh inside its shell. The oyster closed its shell on the beak of the snipe so that it could not get away. The snipe said, "It is not raining today, nor will it rain tomorrow. You shall die Mr. Oyster." To which the oyster replied, "You shall not escape my grip today, nor shall you escape it tomorrow. It is you who will die (of hunger) Mr. Snipe." Neither side would yield, at which point, a fisherman came by and snatched them both into his net. Today, Zhao is on the verge of attacking Yan. Yan and Zhao have been at odds for a long time, and have caused their people to suffer. I am afraid that the fisherman in this case will be the mighty Qin. For this reason, I hope that your highness will give the matter your mature consideration. King Hui said, "ok fine" and called off the attack. (Wiktionary translation)
鹬蚌相争，渔人得利 (simplified, Pinyin 鷸蚌相爭，漁人得利), traditional
- When two sides contend, it's always the third party that benefits.