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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 4a. Discourses 61-65

» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche

61. The Honey Sacrifice

-AND again passed moons and years over Zarathustra's soul, and he heeded it not; his hair, however, became white. One day when he sat on a stone in front of his cave, and gazed calmly into the distance- one there gazes out on the sea, and away beyond sinuous abysses,- then went his animals thoughtfully round about him, and at last set themselves in front of him.

"O Zarathustra," said they, "gaze you out perhaps for your happiness?"- "Of what account is my happiness!" answered he, "I have long ceased to strive any more for happiness, I strive for my work."- "O Zarathustra," said the animals once more, "that say you as one who has overmuch of good things. Lie you not in a sky-blue lake of happiness?"- "You wags," answered Zarathustra, and smiled, "how well did you choose the simile! But you know also that my happiness is heavy, and not like a fluid wave of water: it presses me and will not leave me, and is like molten pitch."-

Then went his animals again thoughtfully around him, and placed themselves once more in front of him. "O Zarathustra," said they, "it is consequently for that reason that you yourself always becomes yellower and darker, although your hair looks white and flaxen? Lo, you sit in your pitch!"- "What do you say, my animals?" said Zarathustra, laughing; "verily I reviled when I spoke of pitch. As it happens with me, so is it with all fruits that turn ripe. It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker, and also my soul stiller."- "So will it be, O Zarathustra," answered his animals, and pressed up to him; "but will you not today ascend a high mountain? The air is pure, and today one sees more of the world than ever."- "Yes, my animals," answered he, "you counsel admirably and according to my heart: I will today ascend a high mountain! But see that honey is there ready to hand, yellow, white, good, ice-cool, golden-comb-honey. For know that when aloft I will make the honey-sacrifice."-

When Zarathustra, however, was aloft on the summit, he sent his animals home that had accompanied him, and found that he was now alone:- then he laughed from the bottom of his heart, looked around him, and spoke thus:

That I spoke of sacrifices and honey-sacrifices, it was merely a ruse in talking and verily, a useful folly! Here aloft can I now speak freer than in front of mountain-caves and hermits' domestic animals.

What to sacrifice! I squander what is given me, a squanderer with a thousand hands: how could I call that- sacrificing?

And when I desired honey I only desired bait, and sweet mucus and mucilage, for which even the mouths of growling bears, and strange, sulky, evil birds, water:

-The best bait, as huntsmen and fishermen require it. For if the world be as a gloomy forest of animals, and a pleasure-ground for all wild huntsmen, it seems to me rather- and preferably- a fathomless, rich sea;

-A sea full of many-hued fishes and crabs, for which even the gods might long, and might be tempted to become fishers in it, and casters of nets,- so rich is the world in wonderful things, great and small!

Especially the human world, the human sea:- towards it do I now throw out my golden angle-rod and say: Open up, you human abyss!

Open up, and throw to me your fish and shining crabs! With my best bait shall I allure to myself today the strangest human fish!

-My happiness itself do I throw out into all places far and wide 'twixt orient, noontide, and occident, to see if many human fish will not learn to hug and tug at my happiness;-

Until, biting at my sharp hidden hooks, they have to come up to my height, the motleyest abyss-groundlings, to the wickedest of all fishers of people.

For this am I from the heart and from the beginning- drawing, here-drawing, upward-drawing, upbringing; a drawer, a trainer, a training-master, who not in vain counselled himself once on a time: "Become what you are!"

Thus may people now come up to me; for as yet do I await the signs that it is time for my down-going; as yet do I not myself go down, as I must do, amongst people.

Therefore do I here wait, crafty and scornful upon high mountains, no impatient one, no patient one; rather one who has even unlearnt patience,- because he no longer "suffers."

For my fate gives me time: it has forgotten me perhaps? Or does it sit behind a big stone and catch flies?

And verily, I am well-disposed to my eternal fate, because it does not hound and hurry me, but leaves me time for merriment and mischief; so that I have to-day ascended this high mountain to catch fish.

Did ever any one catch fish upon high mountains? And though it be a folly what I here seek and do, it is better so than that down below I should become solemn with waiting, and green and yellow-

-A posturing wrath-snorter with waiting, a holy howl-storm from the mountains, an impatient one that shouts down into the valleys: "Hearken, else I will scourge you with the scourge of God!"

Not that I would have a grudge against such wrathful ones on that account: they are well enough for laughter to me! Impatient must they now be, those big alarm-drums, which find a voice now or never!

Myself, however, and my fate- we do not talk to the Present, neither do we talk to the Never: for talking we have patience and time and more than time. For one day must it yet come, and may not pass by.

What must one day come and may not pass by? Our great Hazar, that is to say, our great, remote human-kingdom, the Zarathustra-kingdom of a thousand years- -

How remote may such "remoteness" be? What does it concern me? But on that account it is none the less sure to me-, with both feet stand I secure on this ground;

-On an eternal ground, on hard primary rock, on this highest, hardest, primary mountain-ridge, to which all winds come, as to the storm-parting, asking Where? and Whence? and Where?

Here laugh, laugh, my hearty, healthy wickedness! From high mountains cast down your glittering scorn-laughter! Allure for me with your glittering the finest human fish!

And whatever belongs to me in all seas, my in-and-for-me in all things- fish that out for me, bring that up to me: for that do I wait, the wickedest of all fish-catchers.

Out! out! my fishing-hook! In and down, you bait of my happiness! Drip your sweetest dew, you honey of my heart! Bite, my fishing-hook, into the belly of all black affliction!

Look out, look out, my eye! Oh, how many seas round about me, what dawning human futures! And above me- what rosy red stillness! What unclouded silence!

62. The Cry of Distress

THE next day sat Zarathustra again on the stone in front of his cave, whilst his animals roved about in the world outside to bring home new food,- also new honey: for Zarathustra had spent and wasted the old honey to the very last particle. When he thus sat, however, with a stick in his hand, tracing the shadow of his figure on the earth, and reflecting- verily! not upon himself and his shadow,- all at once he startled and shrank back: for he saw another shadow beside his own. And when he hastily looked around and stood up, behold, there stood the soothsayer beside him, the same whom he had once given to eat and drink at his table, the proclaimer of the great weariness, who taught: "All is alike, nothing is worth while, the world is without meaning, knowledge strangles." But his face had changed since then; and when Zarathustra looked into his eyes, his heart was startled once more: so much evil announcement and ashy-grey lightnings passed over that countenance.

The soothsayer, who had perceived what went on in Zarathustra's soul, wiped his face with his hand, as if he would wipe out the impression; the same did also Zarathustra. And when both of them had thus silently composed and strengthened themselves, they gave each other the hand, as a token that they wanted once more to recognize each other.

"Welcome here," said Zarathustra, "you soothsayer of the great weariness, not in vain shall you once have been my messmate and guest. Eat and drink also with me today, and forgive it that a cheerful old man sits with you at table!"- "A cheerful old man?" answered the soothsayer, shaking his head, "but whoever you are, or would be, O Zarathustra, you have been here aloft the longest time,- in a little while your bark shall no longer rest on dry land!"- "Do I then rest on dry land?"- asked Zarathustra, laughing.- "The waves around your mountain," answered the soothsayer, "rise and rise, the waves of great distress and affliction: they will soon raise your bark also and carry you away."- Then was Zarathustra silent and wondered.- "Do you still hear nothing?" continued the soothsayer: "does it not rush and roar out of the depth?"- Zarathustra was silent once more and listened: then heard he a long, long cry, which the abysses threw to one another and passed on; for none of them wished to retain it: so evil did it sound.

"You ill announcer," said Zarathustra at last, "that is a cry of distress, and the cry of a person; it may come perhaps out of a black sea. But what does human distress matter to me! My last sin which has been reserved for me,- know you what it is called?"

-"Pity!" answered the soothsayer from an overflowing heart, and raised both his hands aloft- "O Zarathustra, I have come that I may seduce you to your last sin!"-

And hardly had those words been uttered when there sounded the cry once more, and longer and more alarming than before- also much nearer. "Hear you? Hear you, O Zarathustra?" called out the soothsayer, "the cry concerns you, it calls you: Come, come, come; it is time, it is the highest time!"-

Zarathustra was silent then, confused and staggered; at last he asked, like one who hesitates in himself: "And who is it that there calls me?"

"But you know it, certainly," answered the soothsayer warmly, "why do you conceal yourself? It is the higher person that cries for you!"

"The higher person?" cried Zarathustra, horror-stricken: "what wants he? What wants he? The higher person! What wants he here?" And his skin covered with perspiration.

The soothsayer, however, did not heed Zarathustra's alarm, but listened and listened in the downward direction. When, however, it had been still there for a long while, he looked behind, and saw Zarathustra standing trembling.

"O Zarathustra," he began, with sorrowful voice, "you do not stand there like one whose happiness makes him giddy: you will have to dance lest you tumble down!

But although you should dance before me, and leap all your side-leaps, no one may say to me: 'Behold, here dances the last joyous human!'

In vain would any one come to this height who sought him here: caves would he find, indeed, and back-caves, hiding-places for hidden ones; but not lucky mines, nor treasure-chambers, nor new gold-veins of happiness.

Happiness- how indeed could one find happiness among such buried-alive and solitary ones! Must I yet seek the last happiness on the Blessed isles, and far away among forgotten seas?

But all is alike, nothing is worth while, no seeking is of service, there are no longer any Blessed isles!"

Thus sighed the soothsayer; with his last sigh, however, Zarathustra again became serene and assured, like one who has come out of a deep chasm into the light. "No! No! Three times No!" exclaimed he with a strong voice, and stroked his beard- "that do I know better! There are still Blessed isles! Silence then, you sighing sorrow-sack!

Cease to splash, you rain-cloud of the forenoon! Do I not already stand here wet with your misery, and drenched like a dog?

Now do I shake myself and run away from you, that I may again become dry: thereat may you not wonder! Do I seem to you discourteous? Here however is my court.

But as regards the higher person: well! I shall seek him at once in those forests: from thence came his cry. Perhaps he is there hard beset by an evil beast.

He is in my domain: therein shall he receive no scath! And verily, there are many evil beasts about me."-

With those words Zarathustra turned around to depart. Then said the soothsayer: "O Zarathustra, you are a rogue!

I know it well: you would rather be rid of me! Rather would you run into the forest and lay snares for evil beasts!

But what good will it do you? In the evening will you have me again: in your own cave will I sit, patient and heavy like a block- and wait for you!"

"So be it!" shouted back Zarathustra, as he went away: "and what is my in my cave belongs also to you, my guest!

Should you however find honey therein, well! Just lick it up, you growling bear, and sweeten your soul! For in the evening we want both to be in good spirits;

-In good spirits and joyful, because this day has come to an end! And you yourself shall dance to my lays, as my dancing-bear.

You do not believe this? you shake your head? Well! Cheer up, old bear! But I also- am a soothsayer."

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

63. Talk with the Kings


ERE Zarathustra had been an hour on his way in the mountains and forests, he saw all at once a strange procession. Right on the path which he was about to descend came two kings walking, bedecked with crowns and purple girdles, and variegated like flamingoes: they drove before them a laden ass. "What do these kings want in my domain?" said Zarathustra in astonishment to his heart, and hid himself hastily behind a thicket. When however the kings approached to him, he said half-aloud, like one speaking only to himself: "Strange! Strange! How does this harmonize? Two kings do I see- and only one ass!"

Then the two kings made a halt; they smiled and looked towards the spot whence the voice proceeded, and afterwards looked into each other's faces. "Such things do we also think among ourselves," said the king on the right, "but we do not utter them."

The king on the left, however, shrugged his shoulders and answered: "That may perhaps be a goat-herd. Or an hermit who has lived too long among rocks and trees. For no society at all spoils also good manners."

"Good manners?" replied angrily and bitterly the other king: "what then do we run out of the way of? Is it not 'good manners'? Our 'good society'?

Better, verily, to live among hermits and goat-herds, than with our gilded, false, over-rouged rabble- though it call itself 'good society.'

-Though it call itself 'nobility.' But there all is false and foul, above all the blood- thanks to old evil diseases and worse curers.

The best and dearest to me at present is still a sound peasant, coarse, artful, obstinate and enduring: that is at present the noblest type.

The peasant is at present the best; and the peasant type should be master! But it is the kingdom of the rabble- I no longer allow anything to be imposed upon me. The rabble, however- that means, hodgepodge.

Rabble-hodgepodge: therein is everything mixed with everything, saint and swindler, gentleman and Jew, and every beast out of Noah's ark.

Good manners! Everything is false and foul with us. No one knows any longer how to reverence: it is that precisely that we run away from. They are fulsome obtrusive dogs; they gild palm-leaves.

This loathing chokes me, that we kings ourselves have become false, draped and disguised with the old faded pomp of our ancestors, show-pieces for the stupidest, the craftiest, and whosoever at present traffics for power.

We are not the first people- and have nevertheless to stand for them: of this imposture have we at last become weary and disgusted.

From the rabble have we gone out of the way, from all those bawlers and scribe-blowflies, from the trader-stench, the ambition-fidgeting, the bad breath-: fie, to live among the rabble;

-Fie, to stand for the first people among the rabble! Ah, loathing! Loathing! Loathing! What does it now matter about us kings!"-

"Your old sickness seizes you," said here the king on the left, "your loathing seizes you, my poor brother. You know, however, that some one hears us."

Immediately then, Zarathustra, who had opened ears and eyes to this talk, rose from his hiding-place, advanced towards the kings, and thus began:

"He who hearkens to you, he who gladly hearkens to you, is called Zarathustra.

I am Zarathustra who once said: 'What does it now matter about kings!' Forgive me; I rejoiced when you said to each other: 'What does it matter about us kings!'

Here, however, is my domain and jurisdiction: what may you be seeking in my domain? Perhaps, however, you have found on your way what I seek: namely, the higher person."

When the kings heard this, they beat upon their breasts and said with one voice: "We are recognized!

With the sword of your utterance severest you the thickest darkness of our hearts. You have discovered our distress; for behold, we are on our way to find the higher person - the human that is higher than we, although we are kings. To him do we convey this ass. For the highest human shall also be the highest lord on earth.

There is no sorer misfortune in all human destiny, than when the mighty of the earth are not also the first people. Then everything becomes false and distorted and monstrous.

And when they are even the last people, and more beast than human, then rises and rises the rabble in honour, and at last says even the rabble-virtue: 'Lo, I alone am virtue!' "

What have I just heard? Answered Zarathustra. What wisdom in kings! I am enchanted, and verily, I have already promptings to make a rhyme thereon:-

-Even if it should happen to be a rhyme not suited for every one's ears. I unlearned long ago to have consideration for long ears. Well then! Well now!

(Here, however, it happened that the ass also found utterance: it said distinctly and with malevolence, Y-E-A.)

'Twas once- methinks year one of our blessed Lord,-

Drunk without wine, the Sybil thus deplored:-

"How ill things go!

Decline! Decline! Ne'er sank the world so low!

Rome now has turned harlot and harlot-stew,

Rome's Caesar a beast, and God- has turned Jew!


With those rhymes of Zarathustra the kings were delighted; the king on the right, however, said: "O Zarathustra, how well it was that we set out to see you!

For your enemies showed us your likeness in their mirror: there looked you with the grimace of a devil, and sneeringly: so that we were afraid of you.

But what good did it do! Always did you prick us anew in heart and ear with your sayings. Then did we say at last: What does it matter how he look!

We must hear him; him who teaches: 'You shall love peace as a means to new wars, and the short peace more than the long!'

No one ever spoke such warlike words: 'What is good? To be brave is good. It is the good war that hallows every cause.'

O Zarathustra, our fathers' blood stirred in our veins at such words: it was like the voice of spring to old wine-casks.

When the swords ran among one another like red-spotted serpents, then did our fathers become fond of life; the sun of every peace seemed to them languid and lukewarm, the long peace, however, made them ashamed.

How they sighed, our fathers, when they saw on the wall brightly furbished, dried-up swords! Like those they thirsted for war. For a sword thirsts to drink blood, and sparkles with desire."- -

-When the kings thus discoursed and talked eagerly of the happiness of their fathers, there came upon Zarathustra no little desire to mock at their eagerness: for evidently they were very peaceable kings whom he saw before him, kings with old and refined features. But he restrained himself. "Well!" said he, "there leads the way, there lies the cave of Zarathustra; and this day is to have a long evening! At present, however, a cry of distress calls me hastily away from you.

It will honour my cave if kings want to sit and wait in it: but, to be sure, you will have to wait long!

Well! What of that! Where does one at present learn better to wait than at courts? And the whole virtue of kings that has remained to them- is it not called to-day: Ability to wait?"

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

64. The Leech

AND Zarathustra went thoughtfully on, further and lower down, through forests and past moory bottoms; as it happens, however, to every one who meditates upon hard matters, he trod thereby unawares upon a person. And lo, there spurted into his face all at once a cry of pain, and two curses and twenty bad invectives, so that in his fright he raised his stick and also struck the trodden one. Immediately afterwards, however, he regained his composure, and his heart laughed at the folly he had just committed.

"Pardon me," said he to the trodden one, who had got up enraged, and had seated himself, "pardon me, and hear first of all a parable.

As a wanderer who dreams of remote things on a lonesome highway, runs unawares against a sleeping dog, a dog which lies in the sun:

-As both of them then start up and snap at each other, like deadly enemies, those two beings mortally frightened- so did it happen to us.

And yet! And yet- how little was lacking for them to caress each other, that dog and that lonesome one! Are they not both- lonesome ones!"

-"Whoever you are," said the trodden one, still enraged, "you tread also too nigh me with your parable, and not only with your foot!

Lo! am I then a dog?"- And then the sitting one got up, and pulled his naked arm out of the swamp. For at first he had lain outstretched on the ground, hidden and indiscernible, like those who lie in wait for swamp-game.

"But whatever are you about" called out Zarathustra in alarm, for he saw a deal of blood streaming over the naked arm,- "what has hurt you? has an evil beast bit you, you unfortunate one?"

The bleeding one laughed, still angry, "What matter is it to you!" said he, and was about to go on. "Here am I at home and in my province. Let him question me whoever will: to a dolt, however, I shall hardly answer."

"You are mistaken," said Zarathustra sympathetically, and held him fast; "you are mistaken. Here you are not at home, but in my domain, and therein shall no one receive any hurt.

Call me however what you will- I am who I must be. I call myself Zarathustra.

Well! Up there is the way to Zarathustra's cave: it is not far,- will you not attend to your wounds at my home?

It has gone badly with you, you unfortunate one, in this life: first a beast bit you, and then- a person trod upon you!"

When however the trodden one had heard the name of Zarathustra he was transformed. "What happens to me!" he exclaimed, "who preoccupies me so much in this life as this one person, namely Zarathustra, and that one animal that lives on blood, the leech?

For the sake of the leech did I lie here by this swamp, like a fisher, and already had my outstretched arm been bitten ten times, when there bites a still finer leech at my blood, Zarathustra himself!

O happiness! O miracle! Praised be this day which enticed me into the swamp! Praised be the best, the most live cupping-glass, that at present lives; praised be the great conscience-leech Zarathustra!"

Thus spoke the trodden one, and Zarathustra rejoiced at his words and their refined reverential style. "Who are you?" asked he, and gave him his hand, "there is much to clear up and elucidate between us, but already methinks pure clear day is dawning."

"I am the spiritually conscientious one," answered he who was asked, "and in matters of the spirit it is difficult for any one to take it more rigorously, more restrictedly, and more severely than I, except him from whom I learnt it, Zarathustra himself.

Better know nothing than half-know many things! Better be a fool on one's own account, than a sage on other people's approbation! I go to the basis:

-What matter if it be great or small? If it be called swamp or sky? A handbreadth of basis is enough for me, if it be actually basis and ground!

-A handbreadth of basis: there can one stand. In the true knowing-knowledge there is nothing great and nothing small."

"Then you are perhaps an expert on the leech?" asked Zarathustra; "and you investigate the leech to its ultimate basis, you conscientious one?"

"O Zarathustra," answered the trodden one, "that would be something immense; how could I presume to do so!

That, however, of which I am master and knower, is the brain of the leech:- that is my world!

And it is also a world! Forgive it, however, that my pride here finds expression, for here I have not my equal. Therefore said I: 'here am I at home.'

How long have I investigated this one thing, the brain of the leech, so that here the slippery truth might no longer slip from me! Here is my domain!

-For the sake of this did I cast everything else aside, for the sake of this did everything else become indifferent to me; and close beside my knowledge lies my black ignorance.

My spiritual conscience requires from me that it should be so- that I should know one thing, and not know all else: they are a loathing to me, all the semi-spiritual, all the hazy, hovering, and visionary.

Where my honesty ceases, there am I blind, and want also to be blind. Where I want to know, however, there want I also to be honest- namely, severe, rigorous, restricted, cruel and inexorable.

Because you once said, O Zarathustra: 'Spirit is life which itself cuts into life';- that led and allured me to your doctrine. And verily, with my own blood have I increased my own knowledge!"

-"As the evidence indicates," broke in Zarathustra; for still was the blood flowing down on the naked arm of the conscientious one. For there had ten leeches bitten into it.

"O you strange fellow, how much does this very evidence teach me- namely, you yourself! And not all, perhaps, might I pour into your rigorous ear!

Well then! We part here! But I would rather find you again. Up there is the way to my cave: to-night shall you there by my welcome guest!

Fain would I also make amends to your body for Zarathustra treading upon you with his feet: I think about that. Just now, however, a cry of distress calls me hastily away from you."

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

65. The Magician


WHEN however Zarathustra had gone round a rock, then saw he on the same path, not far below him, a man who threw his limbs about like a maniac, and at last tumbled to the ground on his belly. "Halt!" said then Zarathustra to his heart, "he there must surely be the higher person, from him came that dreadful cry of distress, I will see if I can help him." When, however, he ran to the spot where the man lay on the ground, he found a trembling old man with fixed eyes; and in spite of all Zarathustra's efforts to lift him and set him again on his feet, it was all in vain. The unfortunate one, also, did not seem to notice that some one was beside him; on the contrary, he continually looked around with moving gestures, like one forsaken and isolated from all the world. At last, however, after much trembling, and convulsion, and curling-himself-up, he began to lament thus:

Who warms me, who loves me still?
Give ardent fingers!
Give heartening charcoal-warmers!
Prone, outstretched, trembling,
Like him, half dead and cold, whose feet one warms-
And shaken, ah! by unfamiliar fevers,
Shivering with sharpened, icy-cold frost-arrows,
By you pursued, my fancy!
Ineffable! Recondite! Sore-frightening!
You huntsman 'hind the cloud-banks! Now lightning-struck by you,
You mocking eye that me in darkness watches:
-Thus do I lie,
Bend myself, twist myself, convulsed
With all eternal torture,
And smitten
By you, cruel huntsman,
You unfamiliar- God...

Smite deeper!
Smite yet once more!
Pierce through and rend my heart!
What means this torture
With dull, indented arrows?
Why look you here,
Of human pain not weary,
With mischief-loving, godly flash-glances?
Not murder will you,
But torture, torture?
For why- me torture,
You mischief-loving, unfamiliar God?

Ha! Ha!
You steal nigh
In midnight's gloomy hour?...
What will you?
You crowd me, press me-
Ha! now far too closely!
You hear me breathing,
You over hear my heart,
You ever jealous one! -Of what, pray, ever jealous?
Off! Off!
For why the ladder?
Would you get in?
To heart in-clamber?
To mine own secrets
Conceptions in-clamber?
Shameless one! you unknown one!- Thief!
What seek you by your stealing?
What seek you by your hearkening?
What seek you by your torturing?
You torturer!
You- hangman-God!
Or shall I, as the mastiffs do,
Roll me before you?
And cringing, enraptured, frantic,
My tail friendly- waggle!

In vain!
Goad further!
Cruel goader!
No dog- your game just am I,
Cruel huntsman!
Your proudest of captives,
You robber 'hind the cloud-banks...
Speak finally!
You lightning-veiled one! you unknown one! Speak!
What will you, highway-ambusher, from- me?
What will you, unfamiliar- God?
How much of ransom-gold? Solicit much- that bids my pride!
And be concise- that bids mine other pride!

Ha! Ha!
Me- wants you? me?

Ha! Ha!
And tortures me, fool that you are,
Dead-tortures quite my pride?
Give love to me- who warms me still?
Who loves me still?-
Give ardent fingers
Give heartening charcoal-warmers,
Give me, the most lonesome,
The ice (ah! seven-fold frozen ice
For very enemies,
For foes, do make one thirst).
Give, yield to me,
Cruel foe,

There fled he surely,
My final, only comrade,
My greatest foe,
Mine unfamiliar-
My hangman-God!...

Come you back!
With all of your great tortures! To me the last of lonesome ones,
Oh, come you back!
All my hot tears in streamlets trickle
Their course to you!
And all my final hearty fervour-
Up-glow to you!
Oh, come you back,
Mine unfamiliar God! my pain!
My final bliss!


-Here, however, Zarathustra could no longer restrain himself; he took his staff and struck the wailer with all his might. "Stop this," cried he to him with wrathful laughter, "stop this, you stage-player! you false coiner! you liar from the very heart! I know you well!

I will soon make warm legs to you, you evil magician: I know well how- to make it hot for such as you!"

"Leave off," said the old man, and sprang up from the ground, "strike me no more, O Zarathustra! I did it only for amusement!

That kind of thing belongs to my art. You yourself, I wanted to put to the proof when I gave this performance. And verily, you have well detected me!

But you yourself- have given me no small proof of yourself: you are hard, you wise Zarathustra! Hard strike you with your 'truths,' your cudgel forces from me- this truth!"

-"Flatter not," answered Zarathustra, still excited and frowning, "you stage-player from the heart! you are false: why speak you- of truth!

You peacock of peacocks, you sea of vanity; what did you represent before me, you evil magician; whom was I meant to believe in when you wailed in such wise?"

"The penitent in spirit," said the old old, "it was him- I represented; you yourself once created this expression-

-The poet and magician who at last turns his spirit against himself, the transformed one who freezes to death by his bad science and conscience.

And just acknowledge it: it was long, O Zarathustra, before you discovered my trick and lie! you believed in my distress when you held my head with both your hands,-

-I heard you lament 'we have loved him too little, loved him too little!' Because I so far deceived you, my wickedness rejoiced in me."

"You may have deceived subtler ones than I," said Zarathustra sternly. "I am not on my guard against deceivers; I have to be without precaution: so wills my lot.

You, however,- must deceive: so far do I know you! you must ever be equivocal, trivocal, quadrivocal, and quinquivocal! Even what you have now confessed, is not nearly true enough nor false enough for me!

You bad false coiner, how could you do otherwise! your very malady would you whitewash if you showed yourself naked to your physician.

Thus did you whitewash your lie before me when you said: 'I did so only for amusement!' There was also seriousness therein, you are something of a penitent-in-spirit!

I divine you well: you have become the enchanter of all the world; but for yourself you have no lie or artifice left,- you are disenchanted to yourself!

You have reaped disgust as your one truth. No word in you is any longer genuine, but your mouth is so: that is to say, the disgust that cleaves to your mouth."- -

-"Who are you at all!" cried here the old magician with defiant voice, "who dares to speak thus to me, the greatest human now living?"- and a green flash shot from his eye at Zarathustra. But immediately after he changed, and said sadly:

"O Zarathustra, I am weary of it, I am disgusted with my arts, I am not great, why do I dissemble! But you know it well- I sought for greatness!

A great human I wanted to appear, and persuaded many; but the lie has been beyond my power. On it do I collapse.

O Zarathustra, everything is a lie in me; but that I collapse- this my collapsing is genuine!"-

"It honours you," said Zarathustra gloomily, looking down with sidelong glance, "it honours you that you sought for greatness, but it betrays you also. You are not great.

You bad old magician, that is the best and the most honest thing I honour in you, that you have become weary of yourself, and have expressed it: 'I am not great.'

Therein do I honour you as a penitent-in-spirit, and although only for the twinkling of an eye, in that one moment was you- genuine.

But tell me, what seek you here in my forests and rocks? And if you have put yourself in my way, what proof of me would you have?-

-Wherein did you put me to the test?"

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and his eyes sparkled. But the old magician kept silence for a while; then said he: "Did I put you to the test? I- seek only.

O Zarathustra, I seek a genuine one, a right one, a simple one, an unequivocal one, a person of perfect honesty, a vessel of wisdom, a saint of knowledge, a great human!

Know you it not, O Zarathustra? I seek Zarathustra."

-And here there arose a long silence between them: Zarathustra, however, became profoundly absorbed in thought, so that he shut his eyes. But afterwards coming back to the situation, he grasped the hand of the magician, and said, full of politeness and policy:

"Well! Up there leads the way, there is the cave of Zarathustra. In it may you seek him whom you would rather find.

And ask counsel of my animals, my eagle and my serpent: they shall help you to seek. My cave however is large.

I myself, to be sure- I have as yet seen no great humanity. That which is great, the acutest eye is at present insensible to it. It is the kingdom of the rabble.

Many a one have I found who stretched and inflated himself, and the people cried: 'Behold; a great human!' But what good do all bellows do! The wind comes out at last.

At last bursts the frog which has inflated itself too long: then comes out the wind. To prick a swollen one in the belly, I call good pastime. Hear that, you boys!

Our today is of the popular: who still knows what is great and what is small! Who could there seek successfully for greatness! A fool only: it succeeds with fools.

You seek for great people, you strange fool? Who taught that to you? Is today the time for it? Oh, you bad seeker, why do you- tempt me?"

Thus spoke Zarathustra, comforted in his heart, and went laughing on his way.

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» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche

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