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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 At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft:

and the brooding peaks of the great mountains showing beyond the more crumbled structures toward the east. The low antarctic sun of midnight peered redly from the southern horizon through rifts in the jagged ruins, and the terrible age and deadness of the nightmare city seemed all the starker by contrast with such relatively known and accustomed things as the features of the polar landscape. The sky above was a churning and opalescent mass of tenuous ice-vapors, and the cold clutched at our vitals. Wearily resting the outfit-bags to which we had instinctively clung throughout our desperate flight, we rebuttoned our heavy garments for the stumbling climb down the mound and the walk through the aeon-old stone maze to the


At the Mountains of Madness
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum:

only intent on admiring her own beauty.

"Truly," said Ervic, in a gloomy voice, "the Flatheads have conquered us!"

* * * * * * * *

Some of these events had been witnessed by Ozma and Dorothy and Lady Aurex, who had left the house and gone close to the glass of the dome, in order to see what was going on. Many of the Skeezers had also crowded against the dome, wondering what would happen next. Although their vision was to an extent blurred by the water and the necessity of looking


Glinda of Oz
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Rezanov by Gertrude Atherton:

I say? It is unforgettable. There are few books of American origin that resist so well the passing of the years, that take on more steadily the glam- our of "the unimaginable touch of time." "Rez- anov" is a classic, or I miss my guess. This, though it was first published so recently as 1906.

The story has the merit of being, to some extent historically, and wholly artistically, true. For the matter-of-facts Mrs. Atherton provides a bibliog- raphy of her authorities. Those authorities I have not read, nor should others. Sufficient unto


Rezanov
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 Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair:

been driven to a more or less reluctant alliance with the Papacy. The Church is here, and her followers are here, before the war several hundred thousand of them pouring into the country every year. It is no longer possible to do without Catholics in America; not merely do ditches have to be dug, roads graded, coal mined, and dishes washed, but franchises have to be granted, tariff-schedules adjusted, juries and courts manipulated, police trained and strikes crushed. Under our native political system, for these purposes millions of votes are needed; and these votes belong to people of a score of nationalities--Irish and German and Italian and French-Canadian and Bohemian and Mexican and