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Today's Stichomancy for Martin Luther King Jr.

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Tanach:

2_Kings 2: 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

2_Kings 2: 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said: 'Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?' and when he also had smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither; and Elisha went over.

2_Kings 2: 15 And when the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho some way off saw him, they said: 'The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.' And they came to meet him, and bowed down to the ground before him.

2_Kings 2: 16 And they said unto him: 'Behold now, there are with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master; lest peradventure the spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley.' And he said: 'Ye shall not send.'

2_Kings 2: 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said: 'Send.' They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.

2_Kings 2: 18 And they came back to him, while he tarried at Jericho; and he said unto them: 'Did I not say unto you: Go not?'

2_Kings 2: 19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha: 'Behold, we pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth; but the water is bad, and the land miscarrieth.

2_Kings 2: 20 And he said: 'Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein.' And they brought it to him.


The Tanach
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll:

Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand-- so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remonstrance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in


The Hunting of the Snark
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Witch, et. al by Anton Chekhov:

robbed you of your boy and made a slave of him. You work like a horse, and never hear a kind word. I'd rather pine all my days an old maid, I'd rather get half a rouble from the priest's son, I'd rather beg my bread, or throw myself into the well. . .

"It's a sin!" whispered Sofya again.

"Well, let it be."

Somewhere behind the church the same three voices, two tenors and a bass, began singing again a mournful song. And again the words could not be distinguished.

"They are not early to bed," Varvara said, laughing.

And she began telling in a whisper of her midnight walks with the

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 Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare:

And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire; 1160 Subject and servile to all discontents, As dry combustious matter is to fire: Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy, They that love best their love shall not enjoy.' 1164

By this, the boy that by her side lay kill'd Was melted like a vapour from her sight, And in his blood that on the ground lay spill'd, A purple flower sprung up, chequer'd with white; 1168 Resembling well his pale cheeks, and the blood Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.