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Today's Stichomancy for Italo Calvino

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Animal Farm by George Orwell:

the farm by another way. Moses sprang off his perch and flapped after her, croaking loudly. Meanwhile the animals had chased Jones and his men out on to the road and slammed the five-barred gate behind them. And so, almost before they knew what was happening, the Rebellion had been successfully carried through: Jones was expelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.

For the first few minutes the animals could hardly believe in their good fortune. Their first act was to gallop in a body right round the boundaries of the farm, as though to make quite sure that no human being was hiding anywhere upon it; then they raced back to the farm buildings to wipe out the last traces of Jones's hated reign. The harness-room at the end of the stables was broken open; the bits, the nose-rings, the


Animal Farm
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Gentle Grafter by O. Henry:

"'My young friend,' says Alfred E. Ricks, holding up his hands, 'have you robbed this bank? Dear me, dear me!'

"'You couldn't call it that,' says Bassett. "Robbing" sounds harsh. All I had to do was to find out what street it was on. That town is so quiet that I could stand on the corner and hear the tumblers clicking in that safe lock--"right to 45; left twice to 80; right once to 60; left to 15"--as plain as the Yale captain giving orders in the football dialect. Now, boys,' says Bassett, 'this is an early rising town. They tell me the citizens are all up and stirring before daylight. I asked what for, and they said because breakfast was ready at that time. And what of merry Robin Hood? It must be Yoicks! and

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

had always held herself--she leaped to the deck directly before me. In her hand was a long, slim dagger. I cast a last look upon my beloved princess, smiling, as men should who are about to die. Then I turned my face up toward Phaidor--waiting for the blow. Never have I seen that beautiful face more beautiful than it was at that moment. It seemed incredible that one so lovely could yet harbor within her fair bosom a heart so cruel and relentless, and today there was a new expression in her wondrous eyes that I never before had seen there--an unfamiliar softness, and a look of suffering.


The Warlord of Mars
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 Faraday as a Discoverer by John Tyndall:

circumstance connected with the subject; every shade of deportment; every variation in the energy of the action; almost every application which could possibly be made of magnetism to bring out in detail the character of this new force, is minutely described. The field is swept clean, and hardly anything experimental is left for the gleaner. The phenomena, he concludes, are altogether different from those of magnetism or diamagnetism: they would appear, in fact, to present to us 'a new force, or a new form of force, in the molecules of matter,' which, for convenience sake, he designates by a new word, as 'the magne-crystallic force.'

He looks at the crystal acted upon by the magnet. From its mass he