I recently got offered an exciting new position. Not knowing whether I should accept or stay at my current job, I sought the help of Wise Oracle to help me decide.

O Wise Oracle, why did my predecessor leave the company?

Wise Oracle speaks now, prepare if you can;
The answer you seek is: He was an old man.

Thank you, o Wise Oracle. What can you tell me about my new co-workers? What are they like?

Wise Oracle speaks now, whose words give the willies;
The answer you seek is: All happy families.

Thank you, o Wise Oracle. Do you think I have something valuable to offer in the new organization?

Wise Oracle speaks, a man long in the tooth;
The answer you seek is this: It is a truth.

Thank you, o Wise Oracle. Will I be happy if I accept the new position?

Wise Oracle speaks now, while knowingly grinning;
The answer you seek, it is: In the beginning.

Thank you, o Wise Oracle. One last question, if I may: What is your name?

Wise Oracle did in fact tell me his real name. Can you guess what it is?


2 Answers 2


These look like

First lines from classic novels

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife
- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.
- David Markson, Wittgenstein's Mistress

@Bass has suggested in the comment a better-known alternative for the fourth clue and maybe this is what OP intended:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1)

So the last line that would fit the bill is

Call me Ishmael.
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ such nice explanation, hope 'tis the answer! +1 to both Q and A $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 13:14
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ May I suggest a slightly more famous alternative for the fourth clue? $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ An alternative. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ Nice work! @Bass's alternative is what I had in mind for #4, but your first pick arguably fits even better. $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 11:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Grump. Wise Oracle speaks now, he's, umm... wearing chain mail? $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 11:07

Going low-brow with Chrone's reasoning:

Wise Oracle speaks now, five years in hell I have been;
The answer you seek, it is: My name is Oliver Queen.


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