- Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius:
I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encylopedia. The unnerving mirror hung at the end of a corridor in a villa on Calle Gaona, in Ramos Mejía; the misleading encylopedia goes by the name of The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917), and is a literal if inadequate reprint of the 1902 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote:
He did not want to compose another Don Quixote - which would be so easy - but the Don Quixote. It is unnecessary to add that his aim was never to produce a mechanical transcription of the original; he did not propose to copy it. His admirable ambition was to produce pages which would coincide - word for word and line for line - with those of Miguel de Cervantes.
- The Lottery in Babylon:
My father related that anciently - a matter of centuries; of years? - the lottery in Babylon was a game of plebeian character. He said (I do not know with what degree of truth) that barbers gave rectangular bits of bone or decorated parchment in exchange for copper coins. A drawing of the lottery was held in the middle of the day: the winners received, without futher corroboration from chance, silver-minted coins. The procedure, as you see, was elemental.
- The Garden of Forking Paths:
In his A History of the World War (page 22), Captain Liddell Hart reports that a planned offensive by thirteen British divisions, supported by fourteen hundred artillery pieces, against the German line at Serre-Montauban, scheduled for July 24, 1916, had to be postponed until the morning of the 29th. He comments that torrential rain caused this delay - which lacked any special significance. The following deposition, dictated by, read over, and then signed by Dr Yu Tsun, former teacher of English at the Tsingtao Hochschule, casts unsuspected light upon this event. The first two pages are missing.
- Death and the Compass:
Of the many problems which exercised the daring perspicacity of Lönnrot none was so strange - so harshly strange, we may say - as the staggered series of bloody acts which culminated at the villa of Triste-le-Roy, amid the boundless odour of the eucalypti. It is true that Erik Lönnrot did not succeed in preventing the last crime, but it is indisputable that he foresaw it. Nor did he, of course, guess the identity of Yarmolinsky’s unfortunate assassin, but he did divine the secret morphology of the vicious series as well as the participation of Red Scharlach, whose alias is Scharlach the Dandy. This criminal (as so many others) had sworn on his honour to kill Lönnrot, but the latter had never allowed himself to be intimidated. Lönnrot thought of himself as a pure thinker, an Auguste Dupin, but there was something of the adventurer in him; and even of the gamester.