|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry:
are wisest. They are the magi.
End of this Project Gutenberg Etext of THE GIFT OF THE MAGI.
The Gift of the Magi
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
was blowing and driving along the street the clouds of snow
which seemed to be racing away in terror: high drifts were heaped
up already under the fences and at the doorways. The doctor and
the examining magistrate got into the sledge, and the white
coachman bent over them to button up the cover. They were both
They drove through the village. "Cutting a feathery furrow,"
thought the examining magistrate, listlessly watching the action
of the trace horse's legs. There were lights in all the huts, as
though it were the eve of a great holiday: the peasants had not
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Statesman by Plato:
sacred word, but the political idealism of Plato soars into a region
beyond; for the laws he would substitute the intelligent will of the
legislator. Education is originally to implant in men's minds a sense of
truth and justice, which is the divine bond of states, and the legislator
is to contrive human bonds, by which dissimilar natures may be united in
marriage and supply the deficiencies of one another. As in the Republic,
the government of philosophers, the causes of the perversion of states, the
regulation of marriages, are still the political problems with which
Plato's mind is occupied. He treats them more slightly, partly because the
dialogue is shorter, and also because the discussion of them is perpetually
crossed by the other interest of dialectic, which has begun to absorb him.
|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 Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley:
twelve months little passes worthy of record in these pages. Yeo
has installed himself as major domo, with no very definite
functions, save those of walking about everywhere at Amyas's heels
like a lank gray wolf-hound, and spending his evenings at the
fireside, as a true old sailor does, with his Bible on his knee,
and his hands busy in manufacturing numberless nicknacks, useful
and useless, for every member of the family, and above all for
Ayacanora, whom he insults every week by humbly offering some toy
only fit for a child; at which she pouts, and is reproved by Mrs.
Leigh, and then takes the gift, and puts it away never to look at
it again. For her whole soul is set upon being an English maid;