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Today's Stichomancy for Enrico Fermi

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

"You have done enough already to set Ptarth and Kaol and Helium all three upon us at once should they learn your part in the theft of the Ptarth princess. That you succeeded in shifting the guilt upon the Prince of Helium was fortunate, and a masterly move of strategy; but were the girl to know the truth and ever return to her father's court, all Dusar would have to pay the penalty, and to have her here a prisoner amongst us would be an admission of guilt from the consequences of which naught could save us. It would cost me my throne, Astok, and that I have no mind to lose.


Thuvia, Maid of Mars
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The People That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

I must lie bound and helpless while some horrid beast of prey crept upon me to devour me in that utter darkness of the Bandlu pits of Caspak. I reeked with cold sweat, and my flesh crawled--I could feel it crawl. If ever I came nearer to abject cowardice, I do not recall the instance; and yet it was not that I was afraid to die, for I had long since given myself up as lost--a few days of Caspak must impress anyone with the utter nothingness of life. The waters, the land, the air teem with it, and always it is being devoured by some other form of life. Life is the cheapest thing in Caspak, as it is the cheapest thing on earth and, doubtless, the cheapest


The People That Time Forgot
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

all of our goats and many of our young men and women."

"I am not as this other white man," replied Tarzan. "I should not have harmed you had you not set upon me. Tell me, what was the face of this bad white man like? I am searching for one who has wronged me. Possibly this may be the very one."

"He was a man with a bad face, covered with a great, black beard, and he was very, very wicked--yes, very wicked indeed."

"Was there a little white child with him?" asked Tarzan, his heart almost stopped as he awaited the black's answer.


The Beasts of Tarzan
The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:

rosemaries. At the leafy end of a branch, she builds a sort of silken shell, the shape and size of an acorn-cup. This is where she sits, with her paunch contained in the round cavity and her fore-legs resting on the ledge, ready to leap. The lazy creature loves this position and rarely stations herself head downwards on the web, as do the others. Cosily ensconced in the hollow of her cup, she awaits the approaching game.

Her web, which is vertical, as is the rule among the Epeirae, is of a fair size and always very near the bowl wherein the Spider takes her ease. Moreover, it touches the bowl by means of an angular extension; and the angle always contains one spoke which the


The Life of the Spider