|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:
he feared he would shriek. What he heard was the ticking of
He unclosed his eyes and saw again the water below him. "If
I could free my hands," he thought, "I might throw off the
noose and spring into the stream. By diving I could evade
the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take
to the woods and get away home. My home, thank God, is as
yet outside their lines; my wife and little ones are still
beyond the invader's farthest advance."
As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words,
were flashed into the doomed man's brain rather than evolved
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Montezuma's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard:
a great voice: 'Get thee behind me, Satan, what have I to fear from
thee? I remember that dead sinner well--may her soul have peace--
and her curse has fallen upon me. I rejoice that it should be so,
for on the further side of yonder stone the gates of heaven open to
my sight. Get thee behind me, Satan, what have I to fear from
Crying thus he staggered forward saying, 'O God, into Thy hand I
commend my spirit!' May his soul have peace also, for if he was
cruel, at least he was brave, and did not shrink beneath those
torments which he had inflicted on many others.
Now this was a little matter, but its results were large. Had I
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Fables by Robert Louis Stevenson:
"We find the proofs of our religion in the works of nature," said
he, and beat his breast.
"That is true," said the virtuous person.
"The peacock has a scrannel voice," said the priest, "as has been
laid down always in our books. How cheering!" he cried, in a voice
like one that wept. "How comforting!"
"I require no such proofs," said the virtuous person.
"Then you have no reasonable faith," said the priest.
"Great is the right, and shall prevail!" cried the virtuous person.
"There is loyalty in my soul; be sure, there is loyalty in the mind
|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 A Simple Soul by Gustave Flaubert:
pretensions to learning.
In order to facilitate the children's studies, he presented them with
an engraved geography which represented various scenes of the world;
cannibals with feather head-dresses, a gorilla kidnapping a young
girl, Arabs in the desert, a whale being harpooned, etc.
Paul explained the pictures to Felicite. And, in fact, this was her
only literary education.
The children's studies were under the direction of a poor devil
employed at the town-hall, who sharpened his pocket-knife on his boots
and was famous for his penmanship.
When the weather was fine, they went to Geffosses. The house was built
A Simple Soul