|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen:
have not thought for years; when suddenly they step forth "every inch a man,"
resembling the real personages, even to the finest features, and become the
heroes or heroines of our world of dreams. In reality, such remembrances are
rather unpleasant: every sin, every evil thought, may, like a clock with alarm
or chimes, be repeated at pleasure; then the question is if we can trust
ourselves to give an account of every unbecoming word in our heart and on our
The watchman's spirit understood the language of the inhabitants of the moon
pretty well. The Selenites* disputed variously about our earth, and expressed
their doubts if it could be inhabited: the air, they said, must certainly be
too dense to allow any rational dweller in the moon the necessary free
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane:
The woman stepped closer and laid her fingers on his arm.
Jimmie snarled. "Oh, go teh hell."
He darted into the front door of a convenient saloon and a
moment later came out into the shadows that surrounded the side
door. On the brilliantly lighted avenue he perceived the forlorn
woman dodging about like a scout. Jimmie laughed with an air of
relief and went away.
When he arrived home he found his mother clamoring.
Maggie had returned. She stood shivering beneath the torrent
of her mother's wrath.
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Distinguished Provincial at Paris by Honore de Balzac:
As he walked home through the streets he thought over all that had
been said by Mme. d'Espard's courtiers; memory reproducing with
strange faithfulness their demeanor, their gestures, their manner of
coming and going.
Next day, towards noon, Lucien betook himself to Staub, the great
tailor of that day. Partly by dint of entreaties, and partly by virtue
of cash, Lucien succeeded in obtaining a promise that his clothes
should be ready in time for the great day. Staub went so far as to
give his word that a perfectly elegant coat, a waistcoat, and a pair
of trousers should be forthcoming. Lucien then ordered linen and
|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 Sons of the Soil by Honore de Balzac:
explain the child's nakedness.
"No, ma'am; m'ma died of grief for losing p'pa, who went to the army
in 1812 without marrying her with papers, and got frozen, saving your
presence. But I've my Grandpa Fourchon, who is a good man,--though he
does beat me bad sometimes."
"How is it, my dear, that such wretched people can be found on your
estate?" said the countess, looking at the general.
"Madame la comtesse," said the abbe, "in this district we have none
but voluntary paupers. Monsieur le comte does all he can; but we have
to do with a class of persons who are without religion and who have
but one idea, that of living at your expense."