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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Colbert

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Gentle Grafter by O. Henry:

for two years. The wet spring killed the watermelons. Nobody around here has money enough to buy fertilizer; and land is so poor the corn crop failed and there wasn't enough grass to support the rabbits. All the people have had to eat in this section for over a year is hog and hominy, and--"

"Pick," interrupts Caligula, mussing up his red hair, "what are you going to do with that chicken-feed?"

I hands the money back to Major Tucker; and then I goes over to Colonel Rockingham and slaps him on the back.

"Colonel," says I, "I hope you've enjoyed our little joke. We don't want to carry it too far. Kidnappers! Well, wouldn't it tickle your

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Princess of Parms by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

they had approached within a hundred yards their thoats again became unmanageable and absolutely refused to advance further toward the air craft which had frightened them.

The warriors finally dismounted and hobbling their animals advanced toward us on foot with drawn long-swords.

I advanced to meet the larger, telling the Zodangan to do the best he could with the other. Finishing my man with almost no effort, as had now from much practice become habitual with me, I hastened to return to my new acquaintance whom I found indeed in desperate straits.

He was wounded and down with the huge foot of his

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

gate, where, leaning down, he raised the latch. Then the thoat that he was riding placed his great shoulder to the skeel-wood planking, pushed through, and a moment later the man and the two beasts were swinging silently down the avenue to the edge of the plaza, where Kar Komak hid.

Here Carthoris found considerable difficulty in subduing the second thoat, and as Kar Komak had never before ridden one of the beasts, it seemed a most hopeless job; but at last the bowman managed to scramble to the sleek back, and again the two beasts fled softly down the moss-grown avenues toward the open sea-


Thuvia, Maid of Mars
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 Dynamiter by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson:

the only friend left to you, this old investigator, old in cunning, young in sympathy. Answer me but one question: Are you free from the entanglement of what the world calls love? Do you still command your heart and purposes? or are you fallen in some bond-slavery of the eye and ear?'

I answered him in broken words; my heart, I think I must have told him, lay with my dead parents.

'It is enough,' he said. 'It has been my fate to be called on often, too often, for those services of which we spoke to- night; none in Utah could carry them so well to a conclusion; hence there has fallen into my hands a certain share of