|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad:
I hit upon the notion of informing him that I regretted to say I was
hard of hearing.
"Such a young man, too!" he nodded, keeping his smeary blue,
unintelligent eyes fastened upon me. "What was the cause of it--
some disease?" he inquired, without the least sympathy and as
if he thought that, if so, I'd got no more than I deserved.
"Yes; disease," I admitted in a cheerful tone which seemed to shock him.
But my point was gained, because he had to raise his voice to give
me his tale. It is not worth while to record his version.
It was just over two months since all this had happened, and he had thought
so much about it that he seemed completely muddled as to its bearings,
The Secret Sharer
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:
valid claim to my approval."
"I am a self-made man," said the other, proudly.
"That is nothing," the Monkey said. And going to a bigger pine, he
rose by his own unaided exertions to the top branch, where he sat,
all bedaubed with the pitch which that vegetable exudes. "Now," he
added, "I am a self-made Monkey."
The Patriot and the Banker
A PATRIOT who had taken office poor and retired rich was introduced
at a bank where he desired to open an account.
"With pleasure," said the Honest Banker; "we shall be glad to do
business with you; but first you must make yourself an honest man
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells:
a handful of prickly husks and went on eating the contents.
I noted this with satisfaction, for here at least was a hint for feeding.
I tried him with some other questions, but his chattering, prompt responses
were as often as not quite at cross purposes with my question.
Some few were appropriate, others quite parrot-like.
I was so intent upon these peculiarities that I scarcely noticed the path
we followed. Presently we came to trees, all charred and brown,
and so to a bare place covered with a yellow-white incrustation,
across which a drifting smoke, pungent in whiffs to nose and eyes,
went drifting. On our right, over a shoulder of bare rock, I saw
the level blue of the sea. The path coiled down abruptly into a narrow
The Island of Doctor Moreau
|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 Copy-Cat & Other Stories by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman:
"It is only the old affair about Alma and Amanda,
but now it has taken on a sort of new aspect."
"What do you mean by a new aspect?"
"It seems," said Jim, slowly, "as if they were
making it so I couldn't do for them."
Hayward stamped his foot. "That does sound
new," he said, dryly. "I never thought Alma
Beecher or Amanda Bennet ever objected to have
you do for them."
"Well," said Jim, "perhaps they don't now, but
they want me to do it in their own way. They