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Today's Stichomancy for John Cleese

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Forged Coupon by Leo Tolstoy:

taining some poison, she poured it into a glass, and in another instant would have drunk it, had not her sister's little son of five at that very mo- ment run in to show her a toy his grandmother had given him. She caressed the child, and, suddenly stopping short, burst into tears.

The thought overpowered her that she, too, might have been a mother had he not been mar- ried, and this vision of motherhood made her look into her own soul for the first time. She began to think not of what others would say of her, but of


The Forged Coupon
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Snow Image by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

Meantime, the cavalcade, the banners, the music, and the barouches swept past him, with the vociferous crowd in the rear, leaving the dust to settle down, and the Great Stone Face to be revealed again, with the grandeur that it had worn for untold centuries.

"Lo, here I am, Ernest!" the benign lips seemed to say. "I have waited longer than thou, and am not yet weary. Fear not; the man will come."

The years hurried onward, treading in their haste on one another's heels. And now they began to bring white hairs, and scatter them over the head of Ernest; they made reverend wrinkles


The Snow Image
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde:

"Yes, that is just what I want to know," said the Duck; and she swam away to the end of the pond, and stood upon her head, in order to give her children a good example.

"What a silly question!" cried the Water-rat. "I should expect my devoted friend to be devoted to me, of course."

"And what would you do in return?" said the little bird, swinging upon a silver spray, and flapping his tiny wings.

"I don't understand you," answered the Water-rat.

"Let me tell you a story on the subject," said the Linnet.

"Is the story about me?" asked the Water-rat. "If so, I will listen to it, for I am extremely fond of fiction."

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 On Horsemanship by Xenophon:

sheer force."

A spirited horse should be kept in check, so that he does not dash off at full speed; and on the same principle, you should absolutely abstain from setting him to race against another; as a general rule, your fiery-spirited horse is only too fond of contention.[6]

[6] Reading {skhedon gar kai phil oi thum}, or if {. . . oi thil kai th.} transl. "the more eager and ambitious a horse is, the more mettlesome he will tend to become."

Smooth bits are better and more serviceable than rough; if a rough bit be inserted at all, it must be made to resemble a smooth one as much as possible by lightness of hand.


On Horsemanship