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Today's Stichomancy for Italo Calvino

The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from Court Life in China by Isaac Taylor Headland:

this eunuch, standing behind his chair, can read what he is studying."

On further inquiry I discovered that there was no other way that the eunuch could have learned about the Gospel, except in the way indicated. This man was invited to dine with the eunuchs day after day until he had told them all he knew about Christianity, after which they requested him to bring in the pastor of the church of which he was a member, and who was one of my former pupils, to dine with them and tell them more about the Gospel. The pastor hesitated to accept the invitation, but as it was repeated day after day, he finally accompanied the

The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne:

break, and the mass of iron would fall on the nitro-glycerine. This apparatus being then arranged, the engineer, after having sent his companions to a distance, filled the hole, so that the nitro-glycerine was on a level with the opening; then he threw a few drops of it on the surface of the rock, above which the mass of iron was already suspended.

This done, Harding lit the end of the sulphured fiber, and leaving the place, he returned with his companions to the Chimneys.

The fiber was intended to burn five and twenty minutes, and, in fact, five and twenty minutes afterwards a most tremendous explosion was heard. The island appeared to tremble to its very foundation. Stones were projected in the air as if by the eruption of a volcano. The shock produced


The Mysterious Island
The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from Meno by Plato:

should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know;--that is a theme upon which I am ready to fight, in word and deed, to the utmost of my power.

MENO: There again, Socrates, your words seem to me excellent.

SOCRATES: Then, as we are agreed that a man should enquire about that which he does not know, shall you and I make an effort to enquire together into the nature of virtue?

MENO: By all means, Socrates. And yet I would much rather return to my original question, Whether in seeking to acquire virtue we should regard it as a thing to be taught, or as a gift of nature, or as coming to men in some other way?