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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 The Three Taverns by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

A coming gleam across the gulf of ages, And a way home from shipwreck to the shore; And so, through pangs and ills and desperations, There may be light for all. There shall be light. As much as that, you know. You cannot say This woman or that man will be the next On whom it falls; you are not here for that. Your ministration is to be for others The firing of a rush that may for them Be soon the fire itself. The few at first Are fighting for the multitude at last;

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Hero of Our Time by M.Y. Lermontov:

you think to ride on my horse? In three steps you would be thrown and your neck broken on the stones!'

"'I?' cried Azamat in a fury, and the blade of the child's dagger rang against the coat of mail. A powerful arm thrust him away, and he struck the wattle fence with such violence that it rocked.

"'Now we'll see some fun!' I thought to myself.

"I rushed into the stable, bridled our horses

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Mosses From An Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

the spiritual element within me; but I, too, will be strong in my own way. I will not yield to him."

He took from beneath a glass a piece of minute machinery, which he set in the condensed light of his lamp, and, looking intently at it through a magnifying glass, proceeded to operate with a delicate instrument of steel. In an instant, however, he fell back in his chair and clasped his hands, with a look of horror on his face that made its small features as impressive as those of a giant would have been.

"Heaven! What have I done?" exclaimed he. "The vapor, the influence of that brute force,--it has bewildered me and obscured


Mosses From An Old Manse
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 Child of Storm by H. Rider Haggard:

see them gleaming. On the other hand, evidently middle age was far behind him; indeed, from his appearance it was quite impossible to guess even approximately the number of his years. There he sat, red in the red light, perfectly still, and staring without a blink of his eyes at the furious ball of the setting sun, as an eagle is said to be able to do.

Saduko advanced, and I walked after him. My stature is not great, and I have never considered myself an imposing person, but somehow I do not think that I ever felt more insignificant than on this occasion. The tall and splendid native beside, or rather behind whom I walked, the gloomy magnificence of the place, the blood-red light in which it was


Child of Storm