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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:

called, "go and tell the young ladies some students have come!"

A little later a third young lady came into the room. She was wearing a bright red dress with blue stripes. Her face was painted thickly and unskillfully, her brow was hidden under her hair, and there was an unblinking, frightened stare in her eyes. As she came in, she began at once singing some song in a coarse, powerful contralto. After her a fourth appeared, and after her a fifth. . . .

In all this Vassilyev saw nothing new or interesting. It seemed to him that that room, the piano, the looking-glass in its cheap gilt frame, the bunch of white ribbon, the dress with the blue


The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum:

she placed around her neck in such a way that the pearl rested upon her bosom, directly over her heart.

"Now," said she, "I will ask my first question: Why did the Wizard pay you three visits?"

"Because I would not come to him," answered Mombi.

"That is no answer," said Glinda, sternly. "Tell me the truth."

"Well," returned Mombi, with downcast eyes, "he visited me to learn the way I make tea-biscuits."

"Look up!" commanded the Sorceress.

Mombi obeyed.

"What is the color of my pearl?" demanded Glinda.


The Marvelous Land of Oz
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson:

maids so little, y' are no true natural man; for God made them twain by intention, and brought true love into the world, to be man's hope and woman's comfort."

"Faugh!" said Dick. "Y' are a milk-sopping baby, so to harp on women. An ye think I be no true man, get down upon the path, and whether at fists, back-sword, or bow and arrow, I will prove my manhood on your body."

"Nay, I am no fighter," said Matcham, eagerly. "I mean no tittle of offence. I meant but pleasantry. And if I talk of women, it is because I heard ye were to marry."

"I to marry!" Dick exclaimed. "Well, it is the first I hear of it.

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 Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Youth is lovely, age is lonely, Youth is fiery, age is frosty; You bring back the days departed, You bring back my youth of passion, And the beautiful Wenonah!" Many days they talked together, Questioned, listened, waited, answered; Much the mighty Mudjekeewis Boasted of his ancient prowess, Of his perilous adventures, His indomitable courage,