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Today's Stichomancy for Isaac Asimov

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:

A certain firmness -- mostly you're [sic] backbone.

Firmness and strength (you have a giant's thews) Are virtues that the great know how to use --

I wish that they did not; yet, on the whole, You lack -- excuse my mentioning it -- Soul.

So, to be candid, unreserved and true, I'd rather you were I than I were you.

Perhaps, however, in a time to be, When Man's extinct, a better world may see

Your progeny in power and control, Due to the genesis and growth of Soul.


The Devil's Dictionary
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac:

curiosity to watch the two actors in the scene which was about to take place in the garden, where at first the uncle walked silently ahead of the nephew. Grandet was not at all troubled at having to tell Charles of the death of his father; but he did feel a sort of compassion in knowing him to be without a penny, and he sought for some phrase or formula by which to soften the communication of that cruel truth. "You have lost your father," seemed to him a mere nothing to say; fathers die before their children. But "you are absolutely without means,"-- all the misfortunes of life were summed up in those words! Grandet walked round the garden three times, the gravel crunching under his heavy step.


Eugenie Grandet
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Odyssey by Homer:

been to beg poison for his arrows from Ilus, son of Mermerus. Ilus feared the ever-living gods and would not give him any, but my father let him have some, for he was very fond of him. If Ulysses is the man he then was these suitors will have a short shrift and a sorry wedding.

"But there! It rests with heaven to determine whether he is to return, and take his revenge in his own house or no; I would, however, urge you to set about trying to get rid of these suitors at once. Take my advice, call the Achaean heroes in assembly to-morrow morning--lay your case before them, and call heaven to bear you witness. Bid the suitors take themselves off,


The Odyssey
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 Damaged Goods by Upton Sinclair:

any scruple. During your absence we have arranged matters nicely. The nurse has been informed about the situation, and she does not mind. She has agreed to accept an indemnity, and the amount has been stated."

But the doctor did not take these tidings as the other had hoped he might. He replied: "The malady which the nurse will almost inevitably contract in feeding the child is too grave in its consequences. Such consequences might go as far as complete helplessness, even as far as death. So I say that the indemnity, whatever it might be, would not pay the damage."

"But," exclaimed the other, "she accepts it! She is mistress of