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Today's Stichomancy for Osama bin Laden

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Moral Emblems by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Held a more honourable position.

At length, from years of anxious toil, Bold Robin seeks his native soil; Wisely arranges his affairs, And to his native dale repairs. The Bristol SWALLOW sets him down Beside the well-remembered town. He sighs, he spits, he marks the scene, Proudly he treads the village green; And, free from pettiness and rancour, Takes lodgings at the 'Crown and Anchor.'

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland by Olive Schreiner:

black ants that ran about in the red sand, just under his nose.

A great stillness settled down on the camp. Now and again a stick cracked in the fires, and the cicadas cried aloud in the tree stems; but except where the solitary paced up and down before the little flat-topped tree in front of the captain's tent, not a creature stirred in the whole camp; and the snores of the trooper under the bushes might be heard half across the camp.

The intense midday heat had settled down.

At last there was the sound of someone breaking through the long grass and bushes which had only been removed for a few feet round the camp, and the figure of a man emerged bearing in one hand a gun, and in the other a bird

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde:

[Takes the cup up.] It smells of poppies. I remember well That, when I was a child in Sicily, I took the scarlet poppies from the corn, And made a little wreath, and my grave uncle, Don John of Naples, laughed: I did not know That they had power to stay the springs of life, To make the pulse cease beating, and to chill The blood in its own vessels, till men come And with a hook hale the poor body out, And throw it in a ditch: the body, ay, -

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 Anabasis by Xenophon:

to aid Cyrus, who enlisted Greek help to try and take the throne from Artaxerxes, and the ensuing return of the Greeks, in which Xenophon played a leading role. This occurred between 401 B.C. and March 399 B.C.


This was typed from Dakyns' series, "The Works of Xenophon," a four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon's works (though there is doubt about some of these) is:

Work Number of books

The Anabasis 7