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Zoroastrian Heritage

Author: K. E. Eduljee



Thus Spake Zarathushtra




Part 1

1. The Three Metamorphoses

2. The Academic Chairs of Virtue

3. Backworldsmen

4. The Despisers of the Body

5. Joys and Passions

6. The Pale Criminal

7. Reading and Writing

8. The Tree on the Hill

9. The Preachers of Death

10. War and Warriors

11. The New Idol

12. The Flies in the Market-Place

13. Chastity

14. The Friend

15. The Thousand and One Goals

16. Neighbour Love

17. The Way of the Creating One

18. Old and Young Women

19. The Bite of the Adder

20. Child and Marriage

21. Voluntary Death

22. The Bestowing Virtue

Part 2

23. The Child with the Mirror

24. In the Happy Isles

25. The Pitiful

26. The Priests

27. The Virtuous

28. The Rabble

29. The Tarantulas

30. The Famous Wise People

31. The Night Song

32. The Dance Song

33. The Grave Song

34. Self-Overcoming

35. The Sublime Ones

36. The Land of Culture

37. Immaculate Perception

38. Scholars

39. Poets

40. Great Events

41. The Soothsayer

42. Redemption

43. Manly Prudence

44. The Stillest Hour

Part 3

45. The Wanderer

46. The Vision and the Enigma

47. Involuntary Bliss

48. Before Sunrise

49. The Bedwarfing Virtue

50. On the Olive-Mount

51. On Passing-by

52. The Apostates

53. The Return Home

54. The Three Evil Things

55. The Spirit of Gravity

56. Old and New Tables

57. The Convalescent

58. The Great Longing

59. The Second Dance-Song

60. The Seven Seals

Part 4

61. The Honey Sacrifice

62. The Cry of Distress

63. Talk with the Kings

64. The Leech

65. The Magician

66. Out of Service

67. The Ugliest Man

68. The Voluntary Beggar

69. The Shadow

70. Noon-Tide

71. The Greeting

72. The Supper

73. The Higher Man

74. The Song of Melancholy

75. Science

76. Among Daughters of the Desert

77. The Awakening

78. The Ass-Festival

79. The Drunken Song

80. The Sign

Part 3a. Discourses 45-49

» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche

45. The Wanderer

THEN, when it was about midnight, Zarathustra went his way over the ridge of the isle, that he might arrive early in the morning at the other coast; because there he meant to embark. For there was a good roadstead there, in which foreign ships also liked to anchor: those ships took many people with them, who wished to cross over from the Blessed isles. So when Zarathustra thus ascended the mountain, he thought on the way of his many solitary wanderings from youth onwards, and how many mountains and ridges and summits he had already climbed.

I am a wanderer and mountain-climber, said he to his heart. I love not the plains, and it seems I cannot long sit still.

And whatever may still overtake me as fate and experience- a wandering will be therein, and a mountain-climbing: in the end one experiences only oneself.

The time is now past when accidents could befall me; and what could now fall to my lot which would not already be my own!

It returns only, it comes home to me at last- my own Self, and such of it as has been long abroad, and scattered among things and accidents.

And one thing more do I know: I stand now before my last summit, and before that which has been longest reserved for me. Ah, my hardest path must I ascend! Ah, I have begun my most lonesome wandering!

Yet he who is of my nature does not avoid such an hour: the hour that says to him: Now only do you go the way to your greatness! Summit and abyss- these are now comprised together!

You go the way to your greatness: now has it become your last refuge, what was hereto your last danger!

You go the way to your greatness: it must now be your best courage that there is no longer any path behind you!

You go the way to your greatness: here shall no one steal after you! your foot itself has effaced the path behind you, and over it stands written: Impossibility.

And if all ladders henceforth fail you, then must you learn to mount upon your own head: how could you mount upward otherwise?

Upon your own head, and beyond your own heart! Now must the gentlest in you become the hardest.

He who has always much-indulged himself, sickens at last by his much-indulgence. Praises on what makes hardy! I do not praise the land where butter and honey- flow!

To learn to look away from oneself, is necessary in order to see many things - this hardiness is needed by every mountain-climber.

Yet he who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner, how can he ever see more of anything than its foreground!

But you, O Zarathustra, would view the ground of everything, and its background: thus must you mount even above yourself- up, upwards, until you have even your stars under you!

Yes! To look down upon myself, and even upon my stars: that only would I call my summit, that has remained for me as my last summit!

Thus spoke Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his heart with harsh maxims: for he was sore at heart as he had never been before. And when he had reached the top of the mountain-ridge, behold, there lay the other sea spread out before him; and he stood still and was long silent. The night, however, was cold at this height, and clear and starry.

I recognize my destiny, said he at last, sadly. Well! I am ready. Now has my last lonesomeness begun.

Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal vexation! Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now go down!

Before my highest mountain do I stand, and before my longest wandering: therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended…

…deeper down into pain than I ever ascended, even into its darkest flood! So wills my fate. Well! I am ready.

Whence come the highest mountains? so did I once ask. Then did I learn that they come out of the sea.

That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of their summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its height.

Thus spoke Zarathustra on the ridge of the mountain where it was cold: when, however, he came into the vicinity of the sea, and at last stood alone amongst the cliffs, then had he become weary on his way, and more eager than ever before.

Everything as yet sleeps, said he; even the sea sleeps. Drowsily and strangely does its eye gaze upon me.

But it breaths warmly - I feel it. And I feel also that it dreams. It tosses about dreamily on hard pillows.

Hark! Hark! How it groans with evil recollections! Or evil expectations?

Ah, I am sad along with you, you dusky monster, and angry with myself even for your sake.

Ah, that my hand has not strength enough! Gladly, indeed, would I free you from evil dreams!

And while Zarathustra thus spoke, he laughed at himself with melancholy and bitterness. What! Zarathustra, said he, will you even sing consolation to the sea?

Ah, you amiable fool, Zarathustra, you too-blindly confiding one! But thus have you ever been: ever have you approached confidently all that is terrible.

Every monster would you caress. A whiff of warm breath, a little soft tuft on its paw:- and immediately were you ready to love and lure it.

Love is the danger of the most lonesome one, love to anything, if it only live! Laughable, verily, is my folly and my modesty in love!

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and laughed thereby a second time. Then, however, he thought of his abandoned friends- and as if he had done them a wrong with his thoughts, he upbraided himself because of his thoughts. And forthwith it came to pass that the laugher wept- with anger and longing wept Zarathustra bitterly.

46. The Vision and the Enigma


WHEN it got abroad among the sailors that Zarathustra was on board the ship- for a person who came from the Blessed isles had gone on board along with him,- there was great curiosity and expectation. But Zarathustra kept silent for two days, and was cold and deaf with sadness; so that he neither answered looks nor questions. On the evening of the second day, however, he again opened his ears, though he still kept silent: for there were many curious and dangerous things to be heard on board the ship, which came from afar, and was to go still further. Zarathustra, however, was fond of all those who make distant voyages, and dislike to live without danger. And behold! when listening, his own tongue was at last loosened, and the ice of his heart broke. Then did he begin to speak thus:

To you, the daring venturers and adventurers, and whoever has embarked with cunning sails upon frightful seas,-

To you the enigma-intoxicated, the twilight-enjoyers, whose souls are allured by flutes to every treacherous gulf…

…for you dislike to grope at a thread with cowardly hand; and where you can divine, there do you hate to calculate

To you only do I tell the enigma that I saw- the vision of the most lonesome one.
Gloomily walked I lately in corpse-coloured twilight- gloomily and sternly, with compressed lips. Not only one sun had set for me.

A path which ascended daringly among boulders, an evil, lonesome path, which neither herb nor shrub any longer cheered, a mountain-path, crunched under the daring of my foot.

Mutely marching over the scornful clinking of pebbles, trampling the stone that let it slip: thus did my foot force its way upwards.

Upwards, in spite of the spirit that drew it downwards, towards the abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and archenemy.

Upwards, although it sat upon me, half-dwarf, half-mole; paralysed, paralysing; dripping lead in my ear, and thoughts like drops of lead into my brain.

"O Zarathustra," it whispered scornfully, syllable by syllable, "you stone of wisdom! you threw yourself high, but every thrown stone must - fall!

O Zarathustra, you stone of wisdom, you sling-stone, you star-destroyer! Yourself threw you so high,- but every thrown stone - must fall!

Condemned of yourself, and to your own stoning: O Zarathustra, far indeed threw you your stone - but upon yourself will it recoil!"

Then was the dwarf silent; and it lasted long. The silence, however, oppressed me; and to be thus in pairs, one is verily more lonesome than when alone!

I ascended, I ascended, I dreamt, I thought,- but everything oppressed me. A sick one did I resemble, whom bad torture wearies, and a worse dream reawakens out of his first sleep.

But there is something in me which I call courage: it has hereto slain for me every dejection. This courage at last bade me stand still and say: "Dwarf! You! Or I!"

For courage is the best killer - courage which attacks: for in every attack there is sound of triumph. Humanity, however, is the most courageous animal: thereby has he overcome every animal. With sound of triumph has he overcome every pain; human pain, however, is the sorest pain.

Courage kills also giddiness at abysses: and where does humanity not stand at abysses! Is not seeing itself - seeing abysses?

Courage is the best killer: courage kills also fellow-suffering. Fellow-suffering, however, is the deepest abyss: as deeply as humanity looks into life, so deeply also does it look into suffering.

Courage, however, is the best killer, courage which attacks: it kills even death itself; for it says: "Was that life? Well! Once more!"

In such speech, however, there is much sound of triumph. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


"Halt, dwarf!" said I. "Either I - or you! I, however, am the stronger of the two:- you knowest not my abysmal thought! It - could you not endure!"

Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang from my shoulder, the prying sprite! And it squatted on a stone in front of me. There was however a gateway just where we halted.

"Look at this gateway! Dwarf!" I continued, "it has two faces. Two roads come together here: these has no one yet gone to the end of.

This long lane backwards: it continues for an eternity. And that long lane forward- that is another eternity.

They are antithetical to one another, these roads; they directly abut on one another:- and it is here, at this gateway that they come together. The name of the gateway is inscribed above: 'This Moment.'

But should one follow them further- and ever further and further on, think you, dwarf, that these roads would be eternally antithetical?"-

"Everything straight lies," murmured the dwarf, contemptuously. "All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle."

"You spirit of gravity!" said I wrathfully, "do not take it too lightly! Or I shall let you squat where you squat, Haltfoot,- and I carried you high!"

"Observe," continued I, "This Moment! From the gateway, This Moment, there runs a long eternal lane backwards: behind us lies an eternity.

Must not whatever can run its course of all things, have already run along that lane? Must not whatever can happen of all things have already happened, resulted, and gone by?

And if everything has already existed, what think you, dwarf, of This Moment? Must not this gateway also- have already existed?

And are not all things closely bound together in such wise that This Moment draws all coming things after it? Consequently- itself also?

For whatever can run its course of all things, also in this long lane outward- must it once more run!-

And this slow spider which creeps in the moonlight, and this moonlight itself, and you and I in this gateway whispering together, whispering of eternal things- must we not all have already existed?

-And must we not return and run in that other lane out before us, that long weird lane- must we not eternally return?"-

Thus did I speak, and always more softly: for I was afraid of my own thoughts, and arrear-thoughts. Then, suddenly did I hear a dog howl near me.

Had I ever heard a dog howl thus? My thoughts ran back. Yes! When I was a child, in my most distant childhood:

-Then did I hear a dog howl thus. And saw it also, with hair bristling, its head upwards, trembling in the still midnight, when even dogs believe in ghosts:

-So that it excited my commiseration. For just then went the full moon, silent as death, over the house; just then did it stand still, a glowing globe- at rest on the flat roof, as if on some one's property:-

Thereby had the dog been terrified: for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts. And when I again heard such howling, then did it excite my commiseration once more.

Where was now the dwarf? And the gateway? And the spider? And all the whispering? Had I dreamt? Had I awakened? 'Twixt rugged rocks did I suddenly stand alone, dreary in the dreariest moonlight.

But there lay a person! And there! The dog leaping, bristling, whining- now did it see me coming- then did it howl again, then did it cry:- had I ever heard a dog cry so for help?

And verily, what I saw, the like had I never seen. A young shepherd did I see, writhing, choking, quivering, with distorted countenance, and with a heavy black serpent hanging out of his mouth.

Had I ever seen so much loathing and pale horror on one countenance? He had perhaps gone to sleep? Then had the serpent crawled into his throat- there had it bitten itself fast.

My hand pulled at the serpent, and pulled:- in vain! I failed to pull the serpent out of his throat. Then there cried out of me: "Bite! Bite!

Its head off! Bite!"- so cried it out of me; my horror, my my hatred, my loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice out of me.-

You daring ones around me! You venturers and adventurers, and whoever of you have embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas! You enigma-enjoyers!

Solve to me the enigma that I then beheld, interpret to me the vision of the most lonesome one!

For it was a vision and a foresight:- what did I then behold in parable? And who is it that must come some day?

Who is the shepherd into whose throat the serpent thus crawled? Who is the person into whose throat all the heaviest and blackest will thus crawl?

-The shepherd however bit as my cry had admonished him; he bit with a strong bite! Far away did he spit the head of the serpent:- and sprang up.-

No longer shepherd, no longer person- a transfigured being, a light-surrounded being, that laughed! Never on earth laughed a person as he laughed!

O my brothers, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter,- and now gnaws a thirst at me, a longing that is never allayed.

My longing for that laughter gnaws at me: oh, how can I still endure to live! And how could I endure to die at present!

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

47. Involuntary Bliss

WITH such enigmas and bitterness in his heart did Zarathustra sail over the sea. When, however, he was four day-journeys from the Blessed isles and from his friends, then had he overcame all his pain:- triumphantly and with firm foot did he again accept his fate. And then talked Zarathustra in this wise to his exulting conscience.

Alone am I again, and like to be so, alone with the pure heaven, and the open sea; and again is the afternoon around me.

On an afternoon did I find my friends for the first time; on an afternoon, also, did I find them a second time:- at the hour when all light becomes stiller.

For whatever happiness is still on its way 'twixt heaven and earth, now seeks for lodging a luminous soul: with happiness has all light now become stiller.

O afternoon of my life! Once did my happiness also descend to the valley that it might seek a lodging: then did it find those open hospitable souls.

O afternoon of my life! What did I not surrender that I might have one thing: this living plantation of my thoughts, and this dawn of my highest hope!

Companions did the creator once seek, and children of his hope: and lo, it turned out that he could not find them, except he himself should first create them.

Thus am I in the midst of my work, to my children going, and from them returning: for the sake of his children must Zarathustra perfect himself.

For in one's heart one loves only one's child and one's work; and where there is great love to oneself, then is it the sign of pregnancy: so have I found it.

Still are my children verdant in their first spring, standing nigh one another, and shaken in common by the winds, the trees of my garden and of my best soil.

And verily, where such trees stand beside one another, there are Blessed isles!

But one day will I take them up, and put each by itself alone: that it may learn solitude and defiance and prudence.

Gnarled and crooked and with flexible hardness shall it then stand by the sea, a living lighthouse of unconquerable life.

Yonder where the storms rush down into the sea, and the snout of the mountain drinks water, shall each on a time have his day and night watches, for his testing and recognition.

Recognized and tested shall each be, to see if he be of my type and lineage:- if he be master of a long will, silent even when he speaks, and giving in such wise that he takes in giving:-

-So that he may one day become my companion, a fellow-creator and fellow-enjoyer with Zarathustra:- such a one as writes my will on my law-tablets, for the fuller perfection of all things.

And for his sake and for those like him, must I perfect myself: therefore do I now avoid my happiness, and present myself to every misfortune- for my final testing and recognition.

And verily, it were time that I went away; and the wanderer's shadow and the longest tedium and the still hour- have all said to me: "It is the highest time!"

The word blew to me through the keyhole and said "Come!" The door sprang subtly open to me, and said "Go!"

But I lay enchained to my love for my children: desire spread this snare for me- the desire for love- that I should become the prey of my children, and lose myself in them.

Desiring- that is now for me to have lost myself. I possess you, my children! In this possessing shall everything be assurance and nothing desire.

But brooding lay the sun of my love upon me, in his own juice stewed Zarathustra,- then did shadows and doubts fly past me.

For frost and winter I now longed: "Oh, that frost and winter would again make me crack and crunch!" sighed I:- then arose icy mist out of me.

My past burst its tomb, many pains buried alike woke up:- fully slept had they merely, concealed in corpse-clothes.

So called everything to me in signs: "It is time!" But I- heard not, until at last my abyss moved, and my thought bit me.

Ah, abysmal thought, which are my thought! When shall I find strength to hear you burrowing, and no longer tremble?

To my very throat throbs my heart when I hear them burrowing! your muteness even is like to strangle me, you abysmal mute one!

As yet have I never ventured to call you up; it has been enough that I- have carried you about with me! As yet have I not been strong enough for my final lion-wantonness and playfulness.

Sufficiently formidable to me has your weight ever been: but one day shall I yet find the strength and the lion's voice which will call you up!

When I shall have overcame myself therein, then will I overcome myself also in that which is greater; and a victory shall be the seal of my perfection!-

Meanwhile do I sail along on uncertain seas; chance flatters me, smooth-tongued chance; forward and backward do I gaze-, still see I no end.

As yet has the hour of my final struggle not come to me- or does it come to me perhaps just now? with insidious beauty do sea and life gaze upon me round about:

O afternoon of my life! O happiness before eventide! O haven upon high seas! O peace in uncertainty! How I distrust all of you!

Distrustful am I of your insidious beauty! Like the lover am I, who distrusts too sleek smiling.

As he pushes the best-beloved before him- tender even in severity, the jealous one-, so do I push this blissful hour before me.

Away with you, you blissful hour! With you has there come to me an involuntary bliss! Ready for my severest pain do I here stand:- at the wrong time have you come!

Away with you, you blissful hour! Rather harbour there- with my children! Hasten! and bless them before eventide with my happiness!

There, already approaches eventide: the sun sinks. Away- my happiness!

Thus spoke Zarathustra. And he waited for his misfortune the whole night; but he waited in vain. The night remained clear and calm, and happiness itself came closer and closer to him. Towards morning, however, Zarathustra laughed to his heart, and said mockingly: "Happiness runs after me. That is because I do not run after women. Happiness, however, is a woman."

48. Before Sunrise

O HEAVEN above me, you pure, you deep heaven! you abyss of light! Gazing on you, I tremble with divine desires.

Up to your height to toss myself- that is my depth! In your purity to hide myself- that is my innocence!

The God veils his beauty: thus hide you your stars. You speak not: thus proclaim you your wisdom to me.

Mute over the raging sea have you risen for me to-day; your love and your modesty make a revelation to my raging soul.

In that you came to me beautiful, veiled in your beauty, in that you spoke to me mutely, obvious in your wisdom:

Oh, how could I fail to divine all the modesty of your soul! Before the sun did you come to me- the most lonesome one.

We have been friends from the beginning: to us are grief, gruesomeness, and ground common; even the sun is common to us.

We do not speak to each other, because we know too much-: we keep silent to each other, we smile our knowledge to each other.

Are you not the light of my fire? have you not the sister-soul of my insight?

Together did we learn everything; together did we learn to ascend beyond ourselves to ourselves, and to smile uncloudedly…

…uncloudedly to smile down out of luminous eyes and out of miles of distance, when under us constraint and purpose and guilt stream like rain.

And wandered I alone, for what did my soul hunger by night and in labyrinyour paths? And climbed I mountains, whom did I ever seek, if not you, upon mountains?

And all my wandering and mountain-climbing: a necessity was it merely, and a makeshift of the unhandy one:- to fly only, wants my entire will, to fly into you!

And what have I hated more than passing clouds, and whatever taints you? And my own hatred have I even hated, because it tainted you!

The passing clouds I detest- those steal your cats of prey: they take from you and me what is common to us- the vast unbounded Yes- and Amen- saying.

These mediators and mixers we detest- the passing clouds: those half-and-half ones, that have neither learned to bless nor to curse from the heart.

Rather will I sit in a tub under a closed heaven, rather will I sit in the abyss without heaven, than see you, you luminous heaven, tainted with passing clouds!

And oft have I longed to pin them fast with the jagged gold-wires of lightning, that I might, like the thunder, beat the drum upon their kettle-bellies:-

-An angry drummer, because they rob me of your Yes and Amen!- you heaven above me, you pure, you luminous heaven! you abyss of light!- because they rob you of my Yes and Amen.

For rather will I have noise and thunders and tempest-blasts, than this discreet, doubting cat-repose; and also amongst people do I hate most of all the soft-treaders, and half-and-half ones, and the doubting, hesitating, passing clouds.

And "he who cannot bless shall learn to curse!"- this clear teaching dropt to me from the clear heaven; this star stands in my heaven even in dark nights.

I, however, am a blesser and a Yes-sayer, if you be but around me, you pure, you luminous heaven! you abyss of light!- into all abysses do I then carry my beneficent Yes-saying.

A blesser have I become and a Yes-sayer: and therefore strove I long and was a striver, that I might one day get my hands free for blessing.

This, however, is my blessing: to stand above everything as its own heaven, its round roof, its azure bell and eternal security: and blessed is he who thus blesses!

For all things are baptized at the font of eternity, and beyond good and evil; good and evil themselves, however, are but fugitive shadows and damp afflictions and passing clouds.

It is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I teach that "above all things there stands the heaven of chance, the heaven of innocence, the heaven of hazard, the heaven of wantonness."

"Of Hazard"- that is the oldest nobility in the world; that gave I back to all things; I emancipated them from bondage under purpose.

This freedom and celestial serenity did I put like an azure bell above all things, when I taught that over them and through them, no "eternal Will"- wills.

This wantonness and folly did I put in place of that Will, when I taught that "In everything there is one thing impossible- rationality!"

A little reason, to be sure, a germ of wisdom scattered from star to star- this leaven is mixed in all things: for the sake of folly, wisdom is mixed in all things!

A little wisdom is indeed possible; but this blessed security have I found in all things, that they prefer- to dance on the feet of chance.

O heaven above me! you pure, you lofty heaven! This is now your purity to me, that there is no eternal reason-spider and reason-cobweb:- -That you are to me a dancing-floor for divine chances, that you are to me a table of the Gods, for divine dice and dice-players!-

But you blush? Have I spoken unspeakable things? Have I abused, when I meant to bless you?

Or is it the shame of being two of us that makes you blush!- do you bid me go and be silent, because now- day comes?

The world is deep:- and deeper than e'er the day could read. Not everything may be uttered in presence of day. But day comes: so let us part!

O heaven above me, you modest one! you glowing one! O you, my happiness before sunrise! The day comes: so let us part!

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

49. The Bedwarfing Virtue


WHEN Zarathustra was again on the continent, he did not go straightway to his mountains and his cave, but made many wanderings and questionings, and ascertained this and that; so that he said of himself jestingly: "Lo, a river that flows back to its source in many windings!" For he wanted to learn what had taken place among people during the interval: whether they had become greater or smaller. And once, when he saw a row of new houses, he marvelled, and said:

"What do these houses mean? no great soul put them up as its simile!

Did perhaps a silly child take them out of its toy-box? Would that another child put them again into the box!

And these rooms and chambers- can people go out and in there? They seem to be made for silk dolls; or for dainty-eaters, who perhaps let others eat with them."

And Zarathustra stood still and meditated. At last he said sorrowfully: "There has everything become smaller!

Everywhere do I see lower doorways: he who is of my type can still go therethrough, but- he must stoop!

Oh, when shall I arrive again at my home, where I shall no longer have to stoop- shall no longer have to stoop before the small ones!"- And Zarathustra sighed, and gazed into the distance.-

The same day, however, he spoke on the virtue that makes small.


I pass through this people and keep my eyes open: they do not forgive me for not envying their virtues.

They bite at me, because I say to them that for small people, small virtues are necessary- and because it is hard for me to understand that small people are necessary!

Here am I still like a cock in a strange farm-yard, at which even the hens peck: but on that account I am not unfriendly to the hens.

I am courteous towards them, as towards all small annoyances; to be prickly towards what is small, seems to me wisdom for hedgehogs.

They all speak of me when they sit around their fire in the evening- they speak of me, but no one thinks- of me!

This is the new stillness which I have experienced: their noise around me spreads a mantle over my thoughts.

They shout to one another: "What is this gloomy cloud about to do to us? Let us see that it does not bring a plague upon us!"

And recently did a woman seize upon her child that was coming to me: "Take the children away," cried she, "such eyes scorch children's souls."

They cough when I speak: they think coughing an objection to strong winds- they divine nothing of the boisterousness of my happiness!

"We have not yet time for Zarathustra"- so they object; but what matter about a time that "has no time" for Zarathustra?

And if they should altogether praise me, how could I go to sleep on their praise? A girdle of spines is their praise to me: it scratches me even when I take it off.

And this also did I learn among them: the praiser does as if he gave back; in truth, however, he wants more to be given him!

Ask my foot if their lauding and luring strains please it! to such measure and ticktack, it likes neither to dance nor to stand still.

To small virtues would they rather lure and laud me; to the ticktack of small happiness would they rather persuade my foot.

I pass through this people and keep my eyes open; they have become smaller, and ever become smaller:- the reason thereof is their doctrine of happiness and virtue.

For they are moderate also in virtue,- because they want comfort. With comfort, however, moderate virtue only is compatible.

To be sure, they also learn in their way to stride on and stride forward: that, I call their hobbling.- Thereby they become a hindrance to all who are in haste.

And many of them go forward, and look backwards thereby, with stiffened necks: those do I like to run up against.

Foot and eye shall not lie, nor give the lie to each other. But there is much lying among small people.

Some of them will, but most of them are willed. Some of them are genuine, but most of them are bad actors.

There are actors without knowing it amongst them, and actors without intending it-, the genuine ones are always rare, especially the genuine actors.

Of man there is little here: therefore do their women masculinize themselves. For only he who is man enough, will- save the woman in woman.

And this hypocrisy found I worst amongst them, that even those who command feign the virtues of those who serve.

"I serve, you serve, we serve"- so chants here even the hypocrisy of the rulers- and alas! if the first lord be only the first servant!

Ah, even upon their hypocrisy did my eyes' curiosity alight; and well did I divine all their fly- happiness, and their buzzing around sunny window-panes.

So much kindness, so much weakness do I see. So much justice and pity, so much weakness.

Round, fair, and considerate are they to one another, as grains of sand are round, fair, and considerate to grains of sand.

Modestly to embrace a small happiness- that do they call "submission"! and at the same time they peer modestly after a new small happiness.

In their hearts they want simply one thing most of all: that no one hurt them. Thus do they anticipate every one's wishes and do well to every one.

That, however, is cowardice, though it be called "virtue."

And when they chance to speak harshly, those small people, then do I hear therein only their hoarseness- every draught of air makes them hoarse.

Shrewd indeed are they, their virtues have shrewd fingers. But they lack fists: their fingers do not know how to creep behind fists.

Virtue for them is what makes modest and tame: therewith have they made the wolf a dog, and humanity himself humanity's best domestic animal.

"We set our chair in the midst"- so says their smirking to me- "and as far from dying gladiators as from satisfied swine."

That, however, is- mediocrity, though it be called moderation.


I pass through this people and let fall many words: but they know neither how to take nor how to retain them.

They wonder why I came not to revile venery and vice; and verily, I came not to warn against pickpockets either!

They wonder why I am not ready to abet and whet their wisdom: as if they had not yet enough of wiseacres, whose voices grate on my ear like slate-pencils!

And when I call out: "Curse all the cowardly devils in you, that would rather whimper and fold the hands and adore"- then do they shout: "Zarathustra is godless."

And especially do their teachers of submission shout this;- but precisely in their ears do I love to cry: "Yes! I am Zarathustra, the godless!"

Those teachers of submission! Wherever there is anything puny, or sickly, or scabby, there do they creep like lice; and only my disgust prevents me from cracking them.

Well! This is my sermon for their ears: I am Zarathustra the godless, who says: "Who is more godless than I, that I may enjoy his teaching?"

I am Zarathustra the godless: where do I find my equal? And all those are my equals who give to themselves their Will, and divest themselves of all submission.

I am Zarathustra the godless! I cook every chance in my pot. And only when it has been quite cooked do I welcome it as my food.

And verily, many a chance came imperiously to me: but still more imperiously did my Will speak to it,- then did it lie imploringly upon its knees…

…imploring that it might find home and heart with me, and saying flatteringly: "See, O Zarathustra, how friend only comes to friend!"

But why talk I, when no one has my ears! And so will I shout it out to all the winds:

You ever become smaller, you small people! You crumble away, you comfortable ones! You will yet perish…

…by your many small virtues, by your many small omissions, and by your many small submissions!

Too tender, too yielding: so is your soil! But for a tree to become great, it seeks to twine hard roots around hard rocks!

Also what you omit weaves at the web of all the human future; even your naught is a cobweb, and a spider that lives on the blood of the future.

And when you take, then is it like stealing, you small virtuous ones; but even among knaves honour says that "one shall only steal when one cannot rob."

"It gives itself"- that is also a doctrine of submission. But I say to you, you comfortable ones, that it takes to itself, and will ever take more and more from you!

Ah, that you would renounce all half-willing, and would decide for idleness as you decide for action!

Ah, that you understood my word: "Do ever what you will- but first be such as can will.

Love ever your neighbour as yourselves- but first be such as love themselves…

…such as love with great love, such as love with great contempt!" Thus speaks Zarathustra the godless.

But why talk I, when no one has my ears! It is still an hour too early for me here.

My own forerunner am I among this people, my own cockcrow in dark lanes.

But their hour comes! And there comes also mine! Hourly do they become smaller, poorer, unfruitfuller - poor herbs! poor earth!

And soon shall they stand before me like dry grass and prairie, and verily, weary of themselves- and panting for fire, more than for water!

O blessed hour of the lightning! O mystery before noontide!- Running fires will I one day make of them, and heralds with flaming tongues…

…herald shall they one day with flaming tongues: It comes, it is nigh, the great noontide!

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

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