|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Little Rivers by Henry van Dyke:
knows the way through them by a thousand familiar signs, as well as
you know the streets of the city. He is our pathfinder.
The bow paddle in his canoe is held by his son Joseph, a lad not
quite fifteen, but already as tall, and almost as strong as a man.
"He is yet of the youth," said Johnny, "and he knows not the
affairs of the camp. This trip is for him the first--it is his
school--but I hope he will content you. He is good, M'sieu', and
of the strongest for his age. I have educated already two sons in
the bow of my canoe. The oldest has gone to Pennsylvanie; he peels
the bark there for the tanning of leather. The second had the
misfortune of breaking his leg, so that he can no longer kneel to
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles:
By thee misjudged, but justified by these.
Lady, lead indoors thy consort; wherefore longer here delay?
Tell me first how rose the fray.
Rumors bred unjust suspicious and injustice rankles sore.
Were both at fault?
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Deserted Woman by Honore de Balzac:
them, and adapts himself to the vacuity which grows upon him and
renders him powerless. Even now, Gaston's lungs were accustomed to the
air; and he was willing to discern a kind of vegetable happiness in
days that brought no mental exertion and no responsibilities. The
constant stirring of the sap of life, the fertilizing influences of
mind on mind, after which he had sought so eagerly in Paris, were
beginning to fade from his memory, and he was in a fair way of
becoming a fossil with these fossils, and ending his days among them,
content, like the companions of Ulysses, in his gross envelope.
One evening Gaston de Nueil was seated between a dowager and one of
the vicars-general of the diocese, in a gray-paneled drawing-room,
|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 Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
words of which he knew but few, the Tatar said that God forbid
one should fall sick and die in a strange land, and be buried in
the cold and dark earth; that if his wife came to him for one
day, even for one hour, that for such happiness he would be ready
to bear any suffering and to thank God. Better one day of
happiness than nothing.
Then he described again what a beautiful and clever wife he had
left at home. Then, clutching his head in both hands, he began
crying and assuring Semyon that he was not guilty, and was
suffering for nothing. His two brothers and an uncle had carried
off a peasant's horses, and had beaten the old man till he was
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories