"The Lottery" is an annual human sacrifice conducted by the residents of a small New England town each summer to ensure a good harvest. It involves each household drawing a "ticket" from a black wooden box. The "winning" household is the one that draws the marked ticket. Each member of the household then has to draw tickets individually to determine which one of them will be sacrificed. The only paraphernalia used in the ceremony, other than the tickets and the black box, are the stones the people use to kill the "winner."
The narrator notes that "much of the ritual [of the lottery has] been forgotten or discarded"; only the essential aspects have remained unchanged. The black box which holds the tickets is the oldest ritual item the town has, and even that is not the box used in the original lottery:
The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago . . . There was a story that the present [black] box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the...
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