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Today's Stichomancy for Franz Kafka

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Sons of the Soil by Honore de Balzac:

Sicilian vespers for him until he becomes a cockchafer! If the populations only realized with what untold disasters they are threatened in case they let the cockchafers and the caterpillars get the upper hand, they would pay more attention than they do to municipal regulations.

Holland came near perishing; its dikes were undermined by the teredo, and science is unable to discover the insect from which that mollusk derives, just as science still remains ignorant of the metamorphoses of the cochineal. The ergot, or spur, of rye is apparently a population of insects where the genius of science has been able, so far, to discover only one slight movement. Thus, while awaiting the

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Child of Storm by H. Rider Haggard:

have shot him out of his eagle's nest had not its flat top fortunately caught in that of another and less accessible tree. And with them came clouds of pungent smoke, mixed with bits of burning reed and puffs of hot air.

It was over at last. With the exception of some calves, which had been trampled to death in the rush, the herd had gone. Now, like the Roman emperor--I think he was an emperor--I began to wonder what had become of my legions.

"Umbezi," I shouted, or, rather, sneezed through the smoke, "are you dead, Umbezi? "

"Yes, yes, Macumazahn," replied a choking and melancholy voice from the

Child of Storm
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Psychology of Revolution by Gustave le Bon:

Convention acclaimed the most threatening measures of the dictator, on the very eve of the day when it was about to cast him down.

4. Fouquier-Tinville, Marat, Billaud-Varenne, &c.

I shall devote a paragraph to certain revolutionists who were famous for the development of their most sanguinary instincts. Their ferocity was complicated by other sentiments, by fear and hatred, which could but fortify it.

Fouquier-Tinville, the public prosecutor of the Revolutionary Tribunal, was one of those who have left the most sinister memories. This magistrate, formerly reputed for his kindness,

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 Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:


MACROBIAN, n. One forgotten of the gods and living to a great age. History is abundantly supplied with examples, from Methuselah to Old Parr, but some notable instances of longevity are less well known. A Calabrian peasant named Coloni, born in 1753, lived so long that he had what he considered a glimpse of the dawn of universal peace. Scanavius relates that he knew an archbishop who was so old that he could remember a time when he did not deserve hanging. In 1566 a linen draper of Bristol, England, declared that he had lived five hundred years, and that in all that time he had never told a lie. There are instances of longevity (_macrobiosis_) in our own country.

The Devil's Dictionary