THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA -by Friedrich Nietzsche

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 strangleth.” 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 recognise
each other.

“Welcome hither,” said Zarathustra, “thou soothsayer of the great
weariness, not in vain shalt thou once have been my messmate and
guest. Eat and drink also with me to-day, and forgive it that a
cheerful old man sitteth with thee at table!”- “A cheerful old man?”
answered the soothsayer, shaking his head, “but whoever thou art, or
wouldst be, O Zarathustra, thou hast been here aloft the longest
time,- in a little while thy bark shall no longer rest on dry
land!”- “Do I then rest on dry land?”- asked Zarathustra, laughing.-
“The waves around thy mountain,” answered the soothsayer, “rise and
rise, the waves of great distress and affliction: they will soon raise
thy bark also and carry thee away.”- Thereupon was Zarathustra
silent and wondered.- “Dost thou still hear nothing?” continued the
soothsayer: “doth 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.

“Thou ill announcer,” said Zarathustra at last, “that is a cry of
distress, and the cry of a man; it may come perhaps out of a black
sea. But what doth human distress matter to me! My last sin which hath
been reserved for me,- knowest thou 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 thee to thy 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.
“Hearest thou? Hearest thou, O Zarathustra?” called out the
soothsayer, “the cry concerneth thee, it calleth thee: Come, come,
come; it is time, it is the highest time!”-

Zarathustra was silent thereupon, confused and staggered; at last he
asked, like one who hesitateth in himself: “And who is it that there
calleth me?”

“But thou knowest it, certainly,” answered the soothsayer warmly,
“why dost thou conceal thyself? It is the higher man that crieth for

“The higher man?” cried Zarathustra, horror-stricken: “what
wanteth he? What wanteth he? The higher man! What wanteth 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, “thou dost not
stand there like one whose happiness maketh him giddy: thou wilt
have to dance lest thou tumble down!

But although thou shouldst dance before me, and leap all thy
side-leaps, no one may say unto me: ‘Behold, here danceth the last
joyous man!’

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 Happy 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 Happy Isles!”- -

Thus sighed the soothsayer; with his last sigh, however, Zarathustra
again became serene and assured, like one who hath come out of a
deep chasm into the light. “Nay! Nay! Three times Nay!” exclaimed he
with a strong voice, and stroked his beard- “that do I know better!
There are still Happy Isles! Silence thereon, thou sighing

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

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

But as regards the higher man: 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, thou art a rogue!

I know it well: thou wouldst fain be rid of me! Rather wouldst
thou run into the forest and lay snares for evil beasts!

But what good will it do thee? In the evening wilt thou have me
again: in thine own cave will I sit, patient and heavy like a block-
and wait for thee!”

“So be it!” shouted back Zarathustra, as he went away: “and what
is mine in my cave belongeth also unto thee, my guest!

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

-In good spirits and joyful, because this day hath come to an end!
And thou thyself shalt dance to my lays, as my dancing-bear.

Thou dost not believe this? Thou shakest thy head? Well! Cheer up,
old bear! But I also- am a soothsayer.”

Thus spake 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 doth this harmonise? Two kings do I see- and
only one ass!”

Thereupon 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 anchorite who hath
lived too long among rocks and trees. For no society at all spoileth
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 anchorites and goat-herds, than with
our gilded, false, over-rouged populace- though it call itself ‘good

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

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

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

Populace-hodgepodge: therein is everything mixed with everything,
saint and swindler, gentleman and Jew, and every beast out of Noah’s

Good manners! Everything is false and foul with us. No one knoweth
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 choketh 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
trafficketh for power.

We are not the first men- 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 men among the rabble! Ah, loathing!
Loathing! Loathing! What doth it now matter about us kings!”-

“Thine old sickness seizeth thee,” said here the king on the left,
“thy loathing seizeth thee, my poor brother. Thou knowest, however,
that some one heareth us.”

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

“He who hearkeneth unto you, he who gladly hearkeneth unto you, is
called Zarathustra.

I am Zarathustra who once said: ‘What doth it now matter about
kings!’ Forgive me; I rejoiced when ye said to each other: ‘What
doth it matter about us kings!’

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

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

With the sword of thine utterance severest thou the thickest
darkness of our hearts. Thou hast discovered our distress; for lo!
we are on our way to find the higher man-

-The man that is higher than we, although we are kings. To him do we
convey this ass. For the highest man shall also be the highest lord on

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

And when they are even the last men, and more beast than man, then
riseth and riseth the populace in honour, and at last saith even the
populace-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 hath turned harlot and harlot-stew,

Rome’s Caesar a beast, and God- hath 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 thee!

For thine enemies showed us thy likeness in their mirror: there
lookedst thou with the grimace of a devil, and sneeringly: so that
we were afraid of thee.

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

We must hear him; him who teacheth: ‘Ye shall love peace as a
means to new wars, and the short peace more than the long!’

No one ever spake such warlike words: ‘What is good? To be brave
is good. It is the good war that halloweth 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 thirsteth to drink blood, and sparkleth 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, “thither leadeth
the way, there lieth the cave of Zarathustra; and this day is to
have a long evening! At present, however, a cry of distress calleth me
hastily away from you.

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

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

Thus spake Zarathustra.

64. The Leech

AND Zarathustra went thoughtfully on, further and lower down,
through forests and past moory bottoms; as it happeneth, however, to
every one who meditateth upon hard matters, he trod thereby unawares
upon a man. 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 dreameth of remote things on a lonesome highway,
runneth unawares against a sleeping dog, a dog which lieth 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 unto

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

-“Whoever thou art,” said the trodden one, still enraged, “thou
treadest also too nigh me with thy parable, and not only with thy

Lo! am I then a dog?”- And thereupon 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 art thou about!” called out Zarathustra in alarm,
for he saw a deal of blood streaming over the naked arm,- “what hath
hurt thee? Hath an evil beast bit thee, thou unfortunate one?”

The bleeding one laughed, still angry, “What matter is it to
thee!” 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.”

“Thou art mistaken,” said Zarathustra sympathetically, and held
him fast; “thou art mistaken. Here thou art not at home, but in my
domain, and therein shall no one receive any hurt.

Call me however what thou wilt- I am who I must be. I call myself

Well! Up thither is the way to Zarathustra’s cave: it is not far,-
wilt thou not attend to thy wounds at my home?

It hath gone badly with thee, thou unfortunate one, in this life:
first a beast bit thee, and then- a man trod upon thee!”- -

When however the trodden one had heard the name of Zarathustra he
was transformed. “What happeneth unto me!” he exclaimed, “who
preoccupieth me so much in this life as this one man, namely
Zarathustra, and that one animal that liveth on blood, the leech?

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

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

Thus spake the trodden one, and Zarathustra rejoiced at his words
and their refined reverential style. “Who art thou?” asked he, and
gave him his hand, “there is much to clear up and elucidate between
us, but already methinketh 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: thereon can one stand. In the true
knowing-knowledge there is nothing great and nothing small.”

“Then thou art perhaps an expert on the leech?” asked Zarathustra;
“and thou investigatest the leech to its ultimate basis, thou
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
findeth expression, for here I have not mine 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 lieth my black ignorance.

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

Where mine honesty ceaseth, 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 thou once saidest, O Zarathustra: ‘Spirit is life which
itself cutteth into life';- that led and allured me to thy doctrine.
And verily, with mine own blood have I increased mine own knowledge!”

-“As the evidence indicateth,” 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 thou strange fellow, how much doth this very evidence teach me-
namely, thou thyself! And not all, perhaps, might I pour into thy
rigorous ear!

Well then! We part here! But I would fain find thee again. Up
thither is the way to my cave: to-night shalt thou there by my welcome

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

Thus spake 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
man, 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 warm’th me, who lov’th me still?

Give ardent fingers!

Give heartening charcoal-warmers!

Prone, outstretched, trembling,

Like him, half dead and cold, whose feet one warm’th-

And shaken, ah! by unfamiliar fevers,

Shivering with sharpened, icy-cold frost-arrows,

By thee pursued, my fancy!

Ineffable! Recondite! Sore-frightening!

Thou huntsman ‘hind the cloud-banks!

Now lightning-struck by thee,

Thou mocking eye that me in darkness watcheth:

-Thus do I lie,

Bend myself, twist myself, convulsed

With all eternal torture,

And smitten

By thee, cruellest huntsman,

Thou unfamiliar- God…

Smite deeper!

Smite yet once more!

Pierce through and rend my heart!

What mean’th this torture

With dull, indented arrows?

Why look’st thou hither,

Of human pain not weary,

With mischief-loving, godly flash-glances?

Not murder wilt thou,

But torture, torture?

For why- me torture,

Thou mischief-loving, unfamiliar God?-

Ha! Ha!

Thou stealest nigh

In midnight’s gloomy hour?…

What wilt thou?


Thou crowdst me, pressest-

Ha! now far too closely!

Thou hearst me breathing,

Thou o’erhearst my heart,

Thou ever jealous one!

-Of what, pray, ever jealous?

Off! Off!

For why the ladder?

Wouldst thou get in?

To heart in-clamber?

To mine own secretest

Conceptions in-clamber?

Shameless one! Thou unknown one!- Thief!

What seekst thou by thy stealing?

What seekst thou by thy hearkening?

What seekst thou by thy torturing?

Thou torturer!

Thou- hangman-God!

Or shall I, as the mastiffs do,

Roll me before thee?

And cringing, enraptured, frantical,

My tail friendly- waggle!

In vain!

Goad further!

Cruellest goader!

No dog- thy game just am I,

Cruellest huntsman!

Thy proudest of captives,

Thou robber ‘hind the cloud-banks…

Speak finally!

Thou lightning-veiled one! Thou unknown one! Speak!

What wilt thou, highway-ambusher, from- me?

What wilt thou, unfamiliar- God?



How much of ransom-gold?

Solicit much- that bid’th my pride!

And be concise- that bid’th mine other pride!

Ha! Ha!

Me- wantst thou? me?


Ha! Ha!

And torturest me, fool that thou art,

Dead-torturest quite my pride?

Give love to me- who warm’th me still?

Who lov’th me still?-

Give ardent fingers

Give heartening charcoal-warmers,

Give me, the lonesomest,

The ice (ah! seven-fold frozen ice

For very enemies,

For foes, doth make one thirst).

Give, yield to me,

Cruellest foe,

-Thyself!- -


There fled he surely,

My final, only comrade,

My greatest foe,

Mine unfamiliar-

My hangman-God!…


Come thou back!

With all of thy great tortures!

To me the last of lonesome ones,

Oh, come thou back!

All my hot tears in streamlets trickle

Their course to thee!

And all my final hearty fervour-

Up-glow’th to thee!

Oh, come thou 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, thou
stage-player! Thou false coiner! Thou liar from the very heart! I know
thee well!

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

-“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 belongeth to mine art. Thee thyself, I wanted
to put to the proof when I gave this performance. And verily, thou
hast well detected me!

But thou thyself- hast given me no small proof of thyself: thou
art hard, thou wise Zarathustra! Hard strikest thou with thy ‘truths,’
thy cudgel forceth from me- this truth!”

-“Flatter not,” answered Zarathustra, still excited and frowning,
“thou stage-player from the heart! Thou art false: why speakest
thou- of truth!

Thou peacock of peacocks, thou sea of vanity; what didst thou
represent before me, thou evil magician; whom was I meant to believe
in when thou wailedst in such wise?”

“The penitent in spirit,” said the old man, “it was him- I
represented; thou thyself once devisedst this expression-

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

And just acknowledge it: it was long, O Zarathustra, before thou
discoveredst my trick and lie! Thou believedst in my distress when
thou heldest my head with both thy hands,-

-I heard thee lament ‘we have loved him too little, loved him too
little!’ Because I so far deceived thee, my wickedness rejoiced in

“Thou mayest have deceived subtler ones than I,” said Zarathustra
sternly. “I am not on my guard against deceivers; I have to be without
precaution: so willeth my lot.

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

Thou bad false coiner, how couldst thou do otherwise! Thy very
malady wouldst thou whitewash if thou showed thyself naked to thy

Thus didst thou whitewash thy lie before me when thou saidst: ‘I did
so only for amusement!’ There was also seriousness therein, thou art
something of a penitent-in-spirit!

I divine thee well: thou hast become the enchanter of all the world;
but for thyself thou hast no lie or artifice left,- thou art
disenchanted to thyself!

Thou hast reaped disgust as thy one truth. No word in thee is any
longer genuine, but thy mouth is so: that is to say, the disgust
that cleaveth unto thy mouth.”- -

-“Who art thou at all!” cried here the old magician with defiant
voice, “who dareth to speak thus unto me, the greatest man 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 mine arts, I
am not great, why do I dissemble! But thou knowest it well- I sought
for greatness!

A great man I wanted to appear, and persuaded many; but the lie hath
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 honoureth thee,” said Zarathustra gloomily, looking down with
sidelong glance, “it honoureth thee that thou soughtest for greatness,
but it betrayeth thee also. Thou art not great.

Thou bad old magician, that is the best and the honestest thing I
honour in thee, that thou hast become weary of thyself, and hast
expressed it: ‘I am not great.’

Therein do I honour thee as a penitent-in-spirit, and although
only for the twinkling of an eye, in that one moment wast thou-

But tell me, what seekest thou here in my forests and rocks? And
if thou hast put thyself in my way, what proof of me wouldst thou

-Wherein didst thou put me to the test?”

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

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

Knowest thou 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 thither leadeth the way, there is the cave of Zarathustra.
In it mayest thou seek him whom thou wouldst fain find.

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

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

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

At last bursteth the frog which hath inflated itself too long:
then cometh out the wind. To prick a swollen one in the belly, I
call good pastime. Hear that, ye boys!

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

Thou seekest for great men, thou strange fool? Who taught that to
thee? Is today the time for it? Oh, thou bad seeker, why dost thou-
tempt me?”- -

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

66. Out of Service

NOT long, however, after Zarathustra had freed himself from the
magician, he again saw a person sitting beside the path which he
followed, namely a tall, black man, with a haggard, pale
countenance: this man grieved him exceedingly. “Alas,” said he to
his heart, “there sitteth disguised affliction; methinketh he is of
the type of the priests: what do they want in my domain?

What! Hardly have I escaped from that magician, and must another
necromancer again run across my path,-

-Some sorcerer with laying-on-of-hands, some sombre wonder-worker by
the grace of God, some anointed world-maligner, whom, may the devil

But the devil is never at the place which would be his right
place: he always cometh too late, that cursed dwarf and club-foot!”-

Thus cursed Zarathustra impatiently in his heart, and considered how
with averted look he might slip past the black man. But behold, it
came about otherwise. For at the same moment had the sitting one
already perceived him; and not unlike one whom an unexpected happiness
overtaketh, he sprang to his feet, and went straight towards

“Whoever thou art, thou traveller,” said he, “help a strayed one,
a seeker, an old man, who may here easily come to grief!

The world here is strange to me, and remote; wild beasts also did
I hear howling; and he who could have given me protection- he is
himself no more.

I was seeking the pious man, a saint and an anchorite, who, alone in
his forest, had not yet heard of what all the world knoweth at

“What doth all the world know at present?” asked Zarathustra.
“Perhaps that the old God no longer liveth, in whom all the world once

“Thou sayest it,” answered the old man sorrowfully. “And I served
that old God until his last hour.

Now, however, am I out of service, without master, and yet not free;
likewise am I no longer merry even for an hour, except it be in

Therefore did I ascend into these mountains, that I might finally
have a festival for myself once more, as becometh an old pope and
church-father: for know it, that I am the last pope!- a festival of
pious recollections and divine services.

Now, however, is he himself dead, the most pious of men, the saint
in the forest, who praised his God constantly with singing and

He himself found I no longer when I found his cot- but two wolves
found I therein, which howled on account of his death,- for all
animals loved him. Then did I haste away.

Had I thus come in vain into these forests and mountains? Then did
my heart determine that I should seek another, the most pious of all
those who believe not in God-, my heart determined that I should
seek Zarathustra!”

Thus spake the hoary man, and gazed with keen eyes at him who
stood before him. Zarathustra however seized the hand of the old
pope and regarded it a long while with admiration.

“Lo! thou venerable one,” said he then, “what a fine and long
hand! That is the hand of one who hath ever dispensed blessings.
Now, however, doth it hold fast him whom thou seekest, me,

It is I, the ungodly Zarathustra, who saith: ‘Who is ungodlier
than I, that I may enjoy his teaching?'”-

Thus spake Zarathustra, and penetrated with his glances the thoughts
and arrear-thoughts of the old pope. At last the latter began:

“He who most loved and possessed him hath now also lost him most-:

-Lo, I myself am surely the most godless of us at present? But who
could rejoice at that!”-

-“Thou servedst him to the last?” asked Zarathustra thoughtfully,
after a deep silence, “thou knowest how he died? Is it true what
they say, that sympathy choked him;

-That he saw how man hung on the cross, and could not endure it;-
that his love to man became his hell, and at last his death?”- -

The old pope however did not answer, but looked aside timidly,
with a painful and gloomy expression.

“Let him go,” said Zarathustra, after prolonged meditation, still
looking the old man straight in the eye.

“Let him go, he is gone. And though it honoureth thee that thou
speakest only in praise of this dead one, yet thou knowest as well
as I who he was, and that he went curious ways.”

“To speak before three eyes,” said the old pope cheerfully (he was
blind of one eye), “in divine matters I am more enlightened than
Zarathustra himself- and may well be so.

My love served him long years, my will followed all his will. A good
servant, however, knoweth everything, and many a thing even which a
master hideth from himself.

He was a hidden God, full of secrecy. Verily, he did not come by his
son otherwise than by secret ways. At the door of his faith standeth

Whoever extolleth him as a God of love, doth not think highly enough
of love itself. Did not that God want also to be judge? But the loving
one loveth irrespective of reward and requital.

When he was young, that God out of the Orient, then was he harsh and
revengeful, and built himself a hell for the delight of his

At last, however, he became old and soft and mellow and pitiful,
more like a grandfather than a father, but most like a tottering old

There did he sit shrivelled in his chimney-corner, fretting on
account of his weak legs, world-weary, will-weary, and one day he
suffocated of his all-too-great pity.”- -

“Thou old pope,” said here Zarathustra interposing, “hast thou
seen that with thine eyes? It could well have happened in that way: in
that way, and also otherwise. When gods die they always die many kinds
of death.

Well! At all events, one way or other- he is gone! He was counter to
the taste of mine ears and eyes; worse than that I should not like
to say against him.

I love everything that looketh bright and speaketh honestly. But he-
thou knowest it, forsooth, thou old priest, there was something of thy
type in him, the priest-type- he was equivocal.

He was also indistinct. How he raged at us, this wrath-snorter,
because we understood him badly! But why did he not speak more

And if the fault lay in our ears, why did he give us ears that heard
him badly? If there was dirt in our ears, well! who put it in them?

Too much miscarried with him, this potter who had not learned
thoroughly! That he took revenge on his pots and creations, however,
because they turned out badly- that was a sin against good taste.

There is also good taste in piety: this at last said: ‘Away with
such a God! Better to have no God, better to set up destiny on one’s
own account, better to be a fool, better to be God oneself!'”

-“What do I hear!” said then the old pope, with intent ears; “O
Zarathustra, thou art more pious than thou believest, with such an
unbelief! Some god in thee hath converted thee to thine ungodliness.

Is it not thy piety itself which no longer letteth thee believe in a
God? And thine over-great honesty will yet lead thee even beyond
good and evil!

Behold, what hath been reserved for thee? Thou hast eyes and hands
and mouth, which have been predestined for blessing from eternity. One
doth not bless with the hand alone.

Nigh unto thee, though thou professest to be the ungodliest one, I
feel a hale and holy odour of long benedictions: I feel glad and
grieved thereby.

Let me be thy guest, O Zarathustra, for a single night! Nowhere on
earth shall I now feel better than with thee!”-

“Amen! So shall it be!” said Zarathustra, with great astonishment;
“up thither leadeth the way, there lieth the cave of Zarathustra.

Gladly, forsooth, would I conduct thee thither myself, thou
venerable one; for I love all pious men. But now a cry of distress
calleth me hastily away from thee.

In my domain shall no one come to grief; my cave is a good haven.
And best of all would I like to put every sorrowful one again on
firm land and firm legs.

Who, however, could take thy melancholy off thy shoulders? For
that I am too weak. Long, verily, should we have to wait until some
one re-awoke thy God for thee.

For that old God liveth no more: he is indeed dead.”-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

67. The Ugliest Man

-AND again did Zarathustra’s feet run through mountains and forests,
and his eyes sought and sought, but nowhere was he to be seen whom
they wanted to see- the sorely distressed sufferer and crier. On the
whole way, however, he rejoiced in his heart and was full of
gratitude. “What good things,” said he, “hath this day given me, as
amends for its bad beginning! What strange interlocutors have I found!

At their words will I now chew a long while as at good corn; small
shall my teeth grind and crush them, until they flow like milk into my

When, however, the path again curved round a rock, all at once the
landscape changed, and Zarathustra entered into a realm of death. Here
bristled aloft black and red cliffs, without any grass, tree, or
bird’s voice. For it was a valley which all animals avoided, even
the beasts of prey, except that a species of ugly, thick, green
serpent came here to die when they became old. Therefore the shepherds
called this valley: “Serpent-death.”

Zarathustra, however, became absorbed in dark recollections, for
it seemed to him as if he had once before stood in this valley. And
much heaviness settled on his mind, so that he walked slowly and
always more slowly, and at last stood still. Then, however, when he
opened his eyes, he saw something sitting by the wayside shaped like a
man, and hardly like a man, something nondescript. And all at once
there came over Zarathustra a great shame, because he had gazed on
such a thing. Blushing up to the very roots of his white hair, he
turned aside his glance, and raised his foot that he might leave
this ill-starred place. Then, however, became the dead wilderness
vocal: for from the ground a noise welled up, gurgling and rattling,
as water gurgleth and rattleth at night through stopped-up
water-pipes; and at last it turned into human voice and human speech:-
it sounded thus:

“Zarathustra! Zarathustra! Read my riddle! Say, say! What is the
revenge on the witness?

I entice thee back; here is smooth ice! See to it, see to it, that
thy pride does not here break its legs!

Thou thinkest thyself wise, thou proud Zarathustra! Read then the
riddle, thou hard nut-cracker,- the riddle that I am! Say then: who am

-When however Zarathustra had heard these words,- what think ye then
took place in his soul? Pity overcame him; and he sank down all at
once, like an oak that hath long withstood many tree-fellers,-
heavily, suddenly, to the terror even of those who meant to fell it.
But immediately he got up again from the ground, and his countenance
became stern.

“I know thee well,” said he, with a brazen voice, “thou art the
murderer of God! Let me go.

Thou couldst not endure him who beheld thee,- who ever beheld thee
through and through, thou ugliest man. Thou tookest revenge on this

Thus spake Zarathustra and was about to go; but the nondescript
grasped at a corner of his garment and began anew to gurgle and seek
for words. “Stay,” said he at last-

-“Stay! Do not pass by! I have divined what axe it was that struck
thee to the ground: hail to thee, O Zarathustra, that thou art again
upon thy feet!

Thou hast divined, I know it well, how the man feeleth who killed
him,- the murderer of God. Stay! Sit down here beside me; it is not to
no purpose.

To whom would I go but unto thee? Stay, sit down! Do not however
look at me! Honour thus- mine ugliness!

They persecute me: now art thou my last refuge. Not with their
hatred, not with their bailiffs;- Oh, such persecution would I mock
at, and be proud and cheerful!

Hath not all success hitherto been with the well-persecuted ones?
And he who persecuteth well learneth readily to be obsequent- when
once he is- put behind! But it is their pity-

-Their pity is it from which I flee away and flee to thee. O
Zarathustra, protect me, thou, my last refuge, thou sole one who
divinedst me:

-Thou hast divined how the man feeleth who killed him. Stay! And
if thou wilt go, thou impatient one, go not the way that I came.
That way is bad.

Art thou angry with me because I have already racked language too
long? Because I have already counselled thee? But know that it is I,
the ugliest man,

-Who have also the largest, heaviest feet. Where I have gone, the
way is bad. I tread all paths to death and destruction.

But that thou passedst me by in silence, that thou blushedst- I
saw it well: thereby did I know thee as Zarathustra.

Every one else would have thrown to me his alms, his pity, in look
and speech. But for that- I am not beggar enough: that didst thou

For that I am too rich, rich in what is great, frightful, ugliest,
most unutterable! Thy shame, O Zarathustra, honoured me!

With difficulty did I get out of the crowd of the pitiful,- that I
might find the only one who at present teacheth that ‘pity is
obtrusive’- thyself, O Zarathustra!

-Whether it be the pity of a God, or whether it be human pity, it is
offensive to modesty. And unwillingness to help may be nobler than the
virtue that rusheth to do so.

That however- namely, pity- is called virtue itself at present by
all petty people:- they have no reverence for great misfortune,
great ugliness, great failure.

Beyond all these do I look, as a dog looketh over the backs of
thronging flocks of sheep. They are petty, good-wooled, good-willed,
grey people.

As the heron looketh contemptuously at shallow pools, with
backward-bent head, so do I look at the throng of grey little waves
and wills and souls.

Too long have we acknowledged them to be right, those petty
people: so we have at last given them power as well;- and now do
they teach that ‘good is only what petty people call good.’

And ‘truth’ is at present what the preacher spake who himself sprang
from them, that singular saint and advocate of the petty people, who
testified of himself: ‘I- am the truth.’

That immodest one hath long made the petty people greatly puffed
up,- he who taught no small error when he taught: ‘I- am the truth.’

Hath an immodest one ever been answered more courteously?- Thou,
however, O Zarathustra, passedst him by, and saidst: ‘Nay! Nay!
Three times Nay!’

Thou warnedst against his error; thou warnedst- the first to do
so- against pity:- not every one, not none, but thyself and thy type.

Thou art ashamed of the shame of the great sufferer; and verily when
thou sayest: ‘From pity there cometh a heavy cloud; take heed, ye

-When thou teachest: ‘All creators are hard, all great love is
beyond their pity:’ O Zarathustra, how well versed dost thou seem to
me in weather-signs!

Thou thyself, however,- warn thyself also against thy pity! For many
are on their way to thee, many suffering, doubting, despairing,
drowning, freezing ones-

I warn thee also against myself. Thou hast read my best, my worst
riddle, myself, and what I have done. I know the axe that felleth

But he- had to die: he looked with eyes which beheld everything,- he
beheld men’s depths and dregs, all his hidden ignominy and ugliness.

His pity knew no modesty: he crept into my dirtiest corners. This
most prying, over-intrusive, over-pitiful one had to die.

He ever beheld me: on such a witness I would have revenge- or not
live myself.

The God who beheld everything, and also man: that God had to die!
Man cannot endure it that such a witness should live.”

Thus spake the ugliest man. Zarathustra however got up, and prepared
to go on: for he felt frozen to the very bowels.

“Thou nondescript,” said he, “thou warnedst me against thy path.
As thanks for it I praise mine to thee. Behold, up thither is the cave
of Zarathustra.

My cave is large and deep and hath many corners; there findeth he
that is most hidden his hiding-place. And close beside it, there are a
hundred lurking-places and by-places for creeping, fluttering, and
hopping creatures.

Thou outcast, who hast cast thyself out, thou wilt not live
amongst men and men’s pity? Well then, do like me! Thus wilt thou
learn also from me; only the doer learneth.

And talk first and foremost to mine animals! The proudest animal and
the wisest animal- they might well be the right counsellors for us
both!”- -

Thus spake Zarathustra and went his way, more thoughtfully and
slowly even than before: for he asked himself many things, and
hardly knew what to answer.

“How poor indeed is man,” thought he in his heart, “how ugly, how
wheezy, how full of hidden shame!

They tell me that man loveth himself. Ah, how great must that
self-love be! How much contempt is opposed to it!

Even this man hath loved himself, as he hath despised himself,- a
great lover methinketh he is, and a great despiser.

No one have I yet found who more thoroughly despised himself: even
that is elevation. Alas, was this perhaps the higher man whose cry I

I love the great despisers. Man is something that hath to be
surpassed.”- -

68. The Voluntary Beggar

WHEN Zarathustra had left the ugliest man, he was chilled and felt
lonesome: for much coldness and lonesomeness came over his spirit,
so that even his limbs became colder thereby. When, however, he
wandered on and on, uphill and down, at times past green meadows,
though also sometimes over wild stony couches where formerly perhaps
an impatient brook had made its bed, then he turned all at once warmer
and heartier again.

“What hath happened unto me?” he asked himself, “something warm
and living quickeneth me; it must be in the neighbourhood.

Already am I less alone; unconscious companions and brethren rove
around me; their warm breath toucheth my soul.”

When, however, he spied about and sought for the comforters of his
lonesomeness, behold, there were kine there standing together on an
eminence, whose proximity and smell had warmed his heart. The kine,
however, seemed to listen eagerly to a speaker, and took no heed of
him who approached. When, however, Zarathustra was quite nigh unto
them, then did he hear plainly that a human voice spake in the midst
of the kine, and apparently all of them had turned their heads towards
the speaker.

Then ran Zarathustra up speedily and drove the animals aside; for he
feared that some one had here met with harm, which the pity of the
kine would hardly be able to relieve. But in this he was deceived; for
behold, there sat a man on the ground who seemed to be persuading
the animals to have no fear of him, a peaceable man and
Preacher-on-the-Mount, out of whose eyes kindness itself preached.
“What dost thou seek here?” called out Zarathustra in astonishment.

“What do I here seek?” answered he: “the same that thou seekest,
thou mischief-maker; that is to say, happiness upon earth.

To that end, however, I would fain learn of these kine. For I tell
thee that I have already talked half a morning unto them, and just now
were they about to give me their answer. Why dost thou disturb them?

Except we be converted and become as kine, we shall in no wise enter
into the kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn from them one thing:

And verily, although a man should gain the whole world, and yet
not learn one thing, ruminating, what would it profit him! He would
not be rid of his affliction,

-His great affliction: that, however, is at present called
disgust. Who hath not at present his heart, his mouth and his eyes
full of disgust? Thou also! Thou also! But behold these kine!”-

Thus spake the Preacher-on-the-Mount, and turned then his own look
towards Zarathustra- for hitherto it had rested lovingly on the kine-:
then, however, he put on a different expression. “Who is this with
whom I talk?” he exclaimed, frightened, and sprang up from the ground.

“This is the man without disgust, this is Zarathustra himself, the
surmounter of the great disgust, this is the eye, this is the mouth,
this is the heart of Zarathustra himself.”

And whilst he thus spake he kissed with o’erflowing eyes the hands
of him with whom he spake, and behaved altogether like one to whom a
precious gift and jewel hath fallen unawares from heaven. The kine,
however, gazed at it all and wondered.

“Speak not of me, thou strange one; thou amiable one!” said
Zarathustra, and restrained his affection, “speak to me firstly of
thyself! Art thou not the voluntary beggar who once cast away great

-Who was ashamed of his riches and of the rich, and fled to the
poorest to bestow upon them his abundance and his heart? But they
received him not.”

“But they received me not,” said the voluntary beggar, “thou knowest
it, forsooth. So I went at last to the animals and to those kine.”

“Then learnedst thou,” interrupted Zarathustra, “how much harder
it is to give properly than to take properly, and that bestowing
well is an art- the last, subtlest master-art of kindness.

“Especially nowadays,” answered the voluntary beggar: “at present,
that is to say, when everything low hath become rebellious and
exclusive and haughty in its manner- in the manner of the populace.

For the hour hath come, thou knowest it forsooth, for the great,
evil, long, slow mob-and-slave-insurrection: it extendeth and

Now doth it provoke the lower classes, all benevolence and petty
giving; and the overrich may be on their guard!

Whoever at present drip, like bulgy bottles out of all-too-small
necks:- of such bottles at present one willingly breaketh the necks.

Wanton avidity, bilious envy, careworn revenge, populace-pride:
all these struck mine eye. It is no longer true that the poor are
blessed. The kingdom of heaven, however, is with the kine.”

“And why is it not with the rich?” asked Zarathustra temptingly,
while he kept back the kine which sniffed familiarly at the peaceful

“Why dost thou tempt me?” answered the other. “Thou knowest it
thyself better even than I. What was it drove me to the poorest, O
Zarathustra? Was it not my disgust at the richest?

-At the culprits of riches, with cold eyes and rank thoughts, who
pick up profit out of all kinds of rubbish- at this rabble that
stinketh to heaven,

-At this gilded, falsified populace, whose fathers were pickpockets,
or carrion-crows, or rag-pickers, with wives compliant, lewd and
forgetful:- for they are all of them not far different from harlots-

Populace above, populace below! What are ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ at
present! That distinction did I unlearn,- then did I flee away further
and ever further, until I came to those kine.”

Thus spake the peaceful one, and puffed himself and perspired with
his words: so that the kine wondered anew. Zarathustra, however,
kept looking into his face with a smile, all the time the man talked
so severely- and shook silently his head.

“Thou doest violence to thyself, thou Preacher-on-the-Mount, when
thou usest such severe words. For such severity neither thy mouth
nor thine eye have been given thee.

Nor, methinketh, hath thy stomach either: unto it all such rage
and hatred and foaming-over is repugnant. Thy stomach wanteth softer
things: thou art not a butcher.

Rather seemest thou to me a plant-eater and a root-man. Perhaps thou
grindest corn. Certainly, however, thou art averse to fleshly joys,
and thou lovest honey.”

“Thou hast divined me well,” answered the voluntary beggar, with
lightened heart. “I love honey, I also grind corn; for I have sought
out what tasteth sweetly and maketh pure breath:

-Also what requireth a long time, a day’s-work and a mouth’s-work
for gentle idlers and sluggards.

Furthest, to be sure, have those kine carried it: they have
devised ruminating and lying in the sun. They also abstain from all
heavy thoughts which inflate the heart.”

-“Well!” said Zarathustra, “thou shouldst also see mine animals,
mine eagle and my serpent,- their like do not at present exist on

Behold, thither leadeth the way to my cave: be tonight its guest.
And talk to mine animals of the happiness of animals,-

-Until I myself come home. For now a cry of distress calleth me
hastily away from thee. Also, shouldst thou find new honey with me,
ice-cold, golden-comb-honey, eat it!

Now, however, take leave at once of thy kine, thou strange one! thou
amiable one! though it be hard for thee. For they are thy warmest
friends and preceptors!”-

-“One excepted, whom I hold still dearer,” answered the voluntary
beggar. “Thou thyself art good, O Zarathustra, and better even than
a cow!”

“Away, away with thee! thou evil flatterer!” cried Zarathustra
mischievously, “why dost thou spoil me with such praise and

“Away, away from me!” cried he once more, and heaved his stick at
the fond beggar, who, however, ran nimbly away.

69. The Shadow

SCARCELY however was the voluntary beggar gone in haste, and
Zarathustra again alone, when he heard behind him a new voice which
called out: “Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, forsooth, O
Zarathustra, myself, thy shadow!” But Zarathustra did not wait; for
a sudden irritation came over him on account of the crowd and the
crowding in his mountains. “Whither hath my lonesomeness gone?”
spake he.

“It is verily becoming too much for me; these mountains swarm; my
kingdom is no longer of this world; I require new mountains.

My shadow calleth me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run
after me! I- run away from it.”

Thus spake Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind
followed after him, so that immediately there were three runners,
one after the other- namely, foremost the voluntary beggar, then
Zarathustra, and thirdly, and hindmost, his shadow. But not long had
they run thus when Zarathustra became conscious of his folly, and
shook off with one jerk all his irritation and detestation.

“What!” said he, “have not the most ludicrous things always happened
to us old anchorites and saints?

Verily, my folly hath grown big in the mountains! Now do I hear
six old fools’ legs rattling behind one another!

But doth Zarathustra need to be frightened by his shadow? Also,
methinketh that after all it hath longer legs thin mine.”

Thus spake Zarathustra, and, laughing with eyes and entrails, he
stood still and turned round quickly- and behold, he almost thereby
threw his shadow and follower to the ground, so closely had the latter
followed at his heels, and so weak was he. For when Zarathustra
scrutinised him with his glance he was frightened as by a sudden
apparition, so slender, swarthy, hollow and worn-out did this follower

“Who art thou?” asked Zarathustra vehemently, “what doest thou here?
And why callest thou thyself my shadow? Thou art not pleasing unto

“Forgive me,” answered the shadow, “that it is I; and if I please
thee not- well, O Zarathustra! therein do I admire thee and thy good

A wanderer am I, who have walked long at thy heels; always on the
way, but without a goal, also without a home: so that verily, I lack
little of being the eternally Wandering Jew, except that I am not
eternal and not a Jew.

What? Must I ever be on the way? Whirled by every wind, unsettled,
driven about? O earth, thou hast become too round for me!

On every surface have I already sat, like tired dust have I fallen
asleep on mirrors and window-panes: everything taketh from me, nothing
giveth; I become thin- I am almost equal to a shadow.

After thee, however, O Zarathustra, did I fly and hie longest; and
though I hid myself from thee, I was nevertheless thy best shadow:
wherever thou hast sat, there sat I also.

With thee have I wandered about in the remotest, coldest worlds,
like a phantom that voluntarily haunteth winter roofs and snows.

With thee have I pushed into all the forbidden, all the worst and
the furthest: and if there be anything of virtue in me, it is that I
have had no fear of any prohibition.

With thee have I broken up whatever my heart revered; all
boundary-stones and statues have I o’erthrown; the most dangerous
wishes did I pursue,- verily, beyond every crime did I once go.

With thee did I unlearn the belief in words and worths and in
great names. When the devil casteth his skin, doth not his name also
fall away? It is also skin. The devil himself is perhaps- skin.

‘Nothing is true, all is permitted': so said I to myself. Into the
coldest water did I plunge with head and heart. Ah, how oft did I
stand there naked on that account, like a red crab!

Ah, where have gone all my goodness and all my shame and all my
belief in the good! Ah, where is the lying innocence which I once
possessed, the innocence of the good and of their noble lies!

Too oft, verily, did I follow close to the heels of truth: then
did it kick me on the face. Sometimes I meant to lie, and behold! then
only did I hit- the truth.

Too much hath become clear unto me: now it doth not concern me any
more. Nothing liveth any longer that I love,- how should I still
love myself?

‘To live as I incline, or not to live at all': so do I wish; so
wisheth also the holiest. But alas! how have I still- inclination?

Have I- still a goal? A haven towards which my sail is set?

A good wind? Ah, he only who knoweth whither he saileth, knoweth
what wind is good, and a fair wind for him.

What still remaineth to me? A heart weary and flippant; an
unstable will; fluttering wings; a broken backbone.

This seeking for my home: O Zarathustra, dost thou know that this
seeking hath been my home-sickening; it eateth me up.

‘Where is- my home?’ For it do I ask and seek, and have sought,
but have not found it. O eternal everywhere, O eternal nowhere, O
eternal- in-vain!”

Thus spake the shadow, and Zarathustra’s countenance lengthened at
his words. “Thou art my shadow!” said he at last sadly.

“Thy danger is not small, thou free spirit and wanderer! Thou hast
had a bad day: see that a still worse evening doth not overtake thee!

To such unsettled ones as thou, seemeth at last even a prisoner
blessed. Didst thou ever see how captured criminals sleep? They
sleep quietly, they enjoy their new security.

Beware lest in the end a narrow faith capture thee, a hard, rigorous
delusion! For now everything that is narrow and fixed seduceth and
tempteth thee.

Thou hast lost thy goal. Alas, how wilt thou forego and forget
that loss? Thereby- hast thou also lost thy way!

Thou poor rover and rambler, thou tired butterfly! wilt thou have
a rest and a home this evening? Then go up to my cave!

Thither leadeth the way to my cave. And now will I run quickly
away from thee again. Already lieth as it were a shadow upon me.

I will run alone, so that it may again become bright around me.
Therefore must I still be a long time merrily upon my legs. In the
evening, however, there will be- dancing with me!”- -

Thus spake Zarathustra.

70. Noontide

-AND Zarathustra ran and ran, but he found no one else, and was
alone and ever found himself again; he enjoyed and quaffed his
solitude, and thought of good things- for hours. About the hour of
noontide, however, when the sun stood exactly over Zarathustra’s head,
he passed an old, bent and gnarled tree, which was encircled round
by the ardent love of a vine, and hidden from itself; from this
there hung yellow grapes in abundance, confronting the wanderer.
Then he felt inclined to quench a little thirst, and to break off
for himself a cluster of grapes. When, however, he had already his arm
out-stretched for that purpose, he felt still more inclined for
something else- namely, to lie down beside the tree at the hour of
perfect noontide and sleep.

This Zarathustra did; and no sooner had he laid himself on the
ground in the stillness and secrecy of the variegated grass, than he
had forgotten his little thirst, and fell asleep. For as the proverb
of Zarathustra saith: “One thing is more necessary than the other.”
Only that his eyes remained open:- for they never grew weary of
viewing and admiring the tree and the love of the vine. In falling
asleep, however, Zarathustra spake thus to his heart:

“Hush! Hush! Hath not the world now become perfect? What hath
happened unto me?

As a delicate wind danceth invisibly upon parqueted seas, light,
feather-light, so- danceth sleep upon me.

No eye doth it close to me, it leaveth my soul awake. Light is it,
verily, feather-light.

It persuadeth me, I know not how, it toucheth me inwardly with a
caressing hand, it constraineth me. Yea, it constraineth me, so that
my soul stretcheth itself out:-

-How long and weary it becometh, my strange soul! Hath a seventh-day
evening come to it precisely at noontide? Hath it already wandered too
long, blissfully, among good and ripe things?

It stretcheth itself out, long- longer! it lieth still, my strange
soul. Too many good things hath it already tasted; this golden sadness
oppresseth it, it distorteth its mouth.

-As a ship that putteth into the calmest cove:- it now draweth up to
the land, weary of long voyages and uncertain seas. Is not the land
more faithful?

As such a ship huggeth the shore, tuggeth the shore:- then it
sufficeth for a spider to spin its thread from the ship to the land.
No stronger ropes are required there.

As such a weary ship in the calmest cove, so do I also now repose,
nigh to the earth, faithful, trusting, waiting, bound to it with the
lightest threads.

O happiness! O happiness! Wilt thou perhaps sing, O my soul? Thou
liest in the grass. But this is the secret, solemn hour, when no
shepherd playeth his pipe.

Take care! Hot noontide sleepeth on the fields. Do not sing! Hush!
The world is perfect.

Do not sing, thou prairie-bird, my soul! Do not even whisper! Lo-
hush! The old noontide sleepeth, it moveth its mouth: doth it not just
now drink a drop of happiness-

-An old brown drop of golden happiness, golden wine? Something
whisketh over it, its happiness laugheth. Thus- laugheth a God. Hush!-

-‘For happiness, how little sufficeth for happiness!’ Thus spake I
once and thought myself wise. But it was a blasphemy: that have I
now learned. Wise fools speak better.

The least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a
lizard’s rustling, a breath, a whisk, an eye-glance- little maketh
up the best happiness. Hush!

-What hath befallen me: Hark! Hath time flown away? Do I not fall?
Have I not fallen- hark! into the well of eternity?

-What happeneth to me? Hush! It stingeth me- alas- to the heart?
To the heart! Oh, break up, break up, my heart, after such
happiness, after such a sting!

-What? Hath not the world just now become perfect? Round and ripe?
Oh, for the golden round ring- whither doth it fly? Let me run after
it! Quick!

Hush- -” (and here Zarathustra stretched himself, and felt that he
was asleep.)

“Up!” said he to himself, “thou sleeper! Thou noontide sleeper! Well
then, up, ye old legs! It is time and more than time; many a good
stretch of road is still awaiting you-

Now have ye slept your fill; for how long a time? A half-eternity!
Well then, up now, mine old heart! For how long after such a sleep
mayest thou- remain awake?”

(But then did he fall asleep anew, and his soul spake against him
and defended itself, and lay down again)- “Leave me alone! Hush!
Hath not the world just now become perfect? Oh, for the golden round

“Get up,” said Zarathustra, “thou little thief, thou sluggard! What!
Still stretching thyself, yawning, sighing, failing into deep wells?

Who art thou then, O my soul!” (and here he became frightened, for a
sunbeam shot down from heaven upon his face.)

“O heaven above me,” said he sighing, and sat upright, “thou
gazest at me? Thou hearkenest unto my strange soul?

When wilt thou drink this drop of dew that fell down upon all
earthly things,- when wilt thou drink this strange soul-

-When, thou well of eternity! thou joyous, awful, noontide abyss!
when wilt thou drink my soul back into thee?”

Thus spake Zarathustra, and rose from his couch beside the tree,
as if awakening from a strange drunkenness: and behold! there stood
the sun still exactly above his head. One might, however, rightly
infer therefrom that Zarathustra had not then slept long.

71. The Greeting

IT WAS late in the afternoon only when Zarathustra, after long
useless searching and strolling about, again came home to his cave.
When, however, he stood over against it, not more than twenty paces
therefrom, the thing happened which he now least of all expected: he
heard anew the great cry of distress. And extraordinary! this time the
cry came out of his own cave. It was a long, manifold, peculiar cry,
and Zarathustra plainly distinguished that it was composed of many
voices: although heard at a distance it might sound like the cry out
of a single mouth.

Thereupon Zarathustra rushed forward to his cave, and behold! what a
spectacle awaited him after that concert! For there did they all sit
together whom he had passed during the day: the king on the right
and the king on the left, the old magician, the pope, the voluntary
beggar, the shadow, the intellectually conscientious one, the
sorrowful soothsayer, and the ass; the ugliest man, however, had set a
crown on his head, and had put round him two purple girdles,- for he
liked, like all ugly ones, to disguise himself and play the handsome
person. In the midst, however, of that sorrowful company stood
Zarathustra’s eagle, ruffled and disquieted, for it had been called
upon to answer too much for which its pride had not any answer; the
wise serpent however hung round its neck.

All this did Zarathustra behold with great astonishment; then
however he scrutinised each individual guest with courteous curiosity,
read their souls and wondered anew. In the meantime the assembled ones
had risen from their seats, and waited with reverence for
Zarathustra to speak. Zarathustra however spake thus:

“Ye despairing ones! Ye strange ones! So it was your cry of distress
that I heard? And now do I know also where he is to be sought, whom
I have sought for in vain today: the higher man-:

-In mine own cave sitteth he, the higher man! But why do I wonder!
Have not I myself allured him to me by honey-offerings and artful
lure-calls of my happiness?

But it seemeth to me that ye are badly adapted for company: ye
make one another’s hearts fretful, ye that cry for help, when ye sit
here together? There is one that must first come,

-One who will make you laugh once more, a good jovial buffoon, a
dancer, a wind, a wild romp, some old fool:- what think ye?

Forgive me, however, ye despairing ones, for speaking such trivial
words before you, unworthy, verily, of such guests! But ye do not
divine what maketh my heart wanton:-

-Ye yourselves do it, and your aspect, forgive it me! For every
one becometh courageous who beholdeth a despairing one. To encourage a
despairing one- every one thinketh himself strong enough to do so.

To myself have ye given this power,- a good gift, mine honourable
guests! An excellent guest’s-present! Well, do not then upbraid when I
also offer you something of mine.

This is mine empire and my dominion: that which is mine, however,
shall this evening and tonight be yours. Mine animals shall serve you:
let my cave be your resting-place!

At house and home with me shall no one despair: in my purlieus do
I protect every one from his wild beasts. And that is the first
thing which I offer you: security!

The second thing, however, is my little finger. And when ye have
that, then take the whole hand also, yea and the heart with it!
Welcome here, welcome to you, my guests!”

Thus spake Zarathustra, and laughed with love and mischief. After
this greeting his guests bowed once more and were reverentially
silent; the king on the right, however, answered him in their name.

“O Zarathustra, by the way in which thou hast given us thy hand
and thy greeting, we recognise thee as Zarathustra. Thou hast
humbled thyself before us; almost hast thou hurt our reverence-:

-Who however could have humbled himself as thou hast done, with such
pride? That uplifteth us ourselves; a refreshment is it, to our eyes
and hearts.

To behold this, merely, gladly would we ascend higher mountains than
this. For as eager beholders have we come; we wanted to see what
brighteneth dim eyes.

And lo! now is it all over with our cries of distress. Now are our
minds and hearts open and enraptured. Little is lacking for our
spirits to become wanton.

There is nothing, O Zarathustra, that groweth more pleasingly on
earth than a lofty, strong will: it is the finest growth. An entire
landscape refresheth itself at one such tree.

To the pine do I compare him, O Zarathustra, which groweth up like
thee- tall, silent, hardy, solitary, of the best, supplest wood,

-In the end, however, grasping out for its dominion with strong,
green branches, asking weighty questions of the wind, the storm, and
whatever is at home on high places;

-Answering more weightily, a commander, a victor! Oh! who should not
ascend high mountains to behold such growths?

At thy tree, O Zarathustra, the gloomy and ill-constituted also
refresh themselves; at thy look even the wavering become steady and
heal their hearts.

And verily, towards thy mountain and thy tree do many eyes turn
to-day; a great longing hath arisen, and many have learned to ask:
‘Who is Zarathustra?’

And those into whose ears thou hast at any time dripped thy song and
thy honey: all the hidden ones, the lone-dwellers and the
twain-dwellers, have simultaneously said to their hearts:

‘Doth Zarathustra still live? It is no longer worth while to live,
everything is indifferent, everything is useless: or else- we must
live with Zarathustra!’

‘Why doth he not come who hath so long announced himself?’ thus do
many people ask; ‘hath solitude swallowed him up? Or should we perhaps
go to him?’

Now doth it come to pass that solitude itself becometh fragile and
breaketh open, like a grave that breaketh open and can no longer
hold its dead. Everywhere one seeth resurrected ones.

Now do the waves rise and rise around thy mountain, O Zarathustra.
And however high be thy height, many of them must rise up to thee: thy
boat shall not rest much longer on dry ground.

And that we despairing ones have now come into thy cave, and already
no longer despair:- it is but a prognostic and a presage that better
ones are on the way to thee,-

-For they themselves are on the way to thee, the last remnant of God
among men- that is to say, all the men of great longing, of great
loathing, of great satiety,

-All who do not want to live unless they learn again to hope- unless
they learn from thee, O Zarathustra, the great hope!”

Thus spake the king on the right, and seized the hand of Zarathustra
in order to kiss it; but Zarathustra checked his veneration, and
stepped back frightened, fleeing as it were, silently and suddenly
into the far distance. After a little while, however, he was again
at home with his guests, looked at them with clear scrutinising
eyes, and said:

“My guests, ye higher men, I will speak plain language and plainly
with you. It is not for you that I have waited here in these

(“‘Plain language and plainly?’ Good God!” said here the king on the
left to himself; “one seeth he doth not know the good Occidentals,
this sage out of the Orient!

But he meaneth ‘blunt language and bluntly’- well! That is not the
worst taste in these days!”)

“Ye may, verily, all of you be higher men,” continued Zarathustra;
“but for me- ye are neither high enough, nor strong enough.

For me, that is to say, for the inexorable which is now silent in
me, but will not always be silent. And if ye appertain to me, still it
is not as my right arm.

For he who himself standeth, like you, on sickly and tender legs,
wisheth above all to be treated indulgently, whether he be conscious
of it or hide it from himself.

My arms and my legs, however, I do not treat indulgently, I do not
treat my warriors indulgently: how then could ye be fit for my

With you I should spoil all my victories. And many of you would
tumble over if ye but heard the loud beating of my drums.

Moreover, ye are not sufficiently beautiful and well-born for me.
I require pure, smooth mirrors for my doctrines; on your surface
even mine own likeness is distorted.

On your shoulders presseth many a burden, many a recollection;
many a mischievous dwarf squatteth in your corners. There is concealed
populace also in you.

And though ye be high and of a higher type, much in you is crooked
and misshapen. There is no smith in the world that could hammer you
right and straight for me.

Ye are only bridges: may higher ones pass over upon you! Ye
signify steps: so do not upbraid him who ascendeth beyond you into his

Out of your seed there may one day arise for me a genuine son and
perfect heir: but that time is distant. Ye yourselves are not those
unto whom my heritage and name belong.

Not for you do I wait here in these mountains; not with you may I
descend for the last time. Ye have come unto me only as a presage that
higher ones are on the way to me,-

-Not the men of great longing, of great loathing, of great
satiety, and that which ye call the remnant of God;

-Nay! Nay! Three times Nay! For others do I wait here in these
mountains, and will not lift my foot from thence without them;

-For higher ones, stronger ones, triumphanter ones, merrier ones,
for such as are built squarely in body and soul: laughing lions must

O my guests, ye strange ones- have ye yet heard nothing of my
children? And that they are on the way to me?

Do speak unto me of my gardens, of my Happy Isles, of my new
beautiful race- why do ye not speak unto me thereof?

This guests’- present do I solicit of your love, that ye speak
unto me of my children. For them am I rich, for them I became poor:
what have I not surrendered.

What would I not surrender that I might have one thing: these
children, this living plantation, these life-trees of my will and of
my highest hope!”

Thus spake Zarathustra, and stopped suddenly in his discourse: for
his longing came over him, and he closed his eyes and his mouth,
because of the agitation of his heart. And all his guests also were
silent, and stood still and confounded: except only that the old
soothsayer made signs with his hands and his gestures.

72. The Supper

FOR at this point the soothsayer interrupted the greeting of
Zarathustra and his guests: he pressed forward as one who had no
time to lose, seized Zarathustra’s hand and exclaimed: “But

One thing is more necessary than the other, so sayest thou
thyself: well, one thing is now more necessary unto me than all

A word at the right time: didst thou not invite me to table? And
here are many who have made long journeys. Thou dost not mean to
feed us merely with discourses?

Besides, all of you have thought too much about freezing,
drowning, suffocating, and other bodily dangers: none of you, however,
have thought of my danger, namely, perishing of hunger-“

(Thus spake the soothsayer. When Zarathustra’s animals, however,
heard these words, they ran away in terror. For they saw that all they
had brought home during the day would not be enough to fill the one

“Likewise perishing of thirst,” continued the soothsayer. “And
although I hear water splashing here like words of wisdom- that is
to say, plenteously and unweariedly, I- want wine!

Not every one is a born water-drinker like Zarathustra. Neither doth
water suit weary and withered ones: we deserve wine- it alone giveth
immediate vigour and improvised health!”

On this occasion, when the soothsayer was longing for wine, it
happened that the king on the left, the silent one, also found
expression for once. “We took care,” said he, “about wine, I, along
with my brother the king on the right: we have enough of wine,- a
whole ass-load of it. So there is nothing lacking but bread.”

“Bread,” replied Zarathustra, laughing when he spake, “it is
precisely bread that anchorites have not. But man doth not live by
bread alone, but also by the flesh of good lambs, of which I have two:

-These shall we slaughter quickly, and cook spicily with sage: it is
so that I like them. And there is also no lack of roots and fruits,
good enough even for the fastidious and dainty,- nor of nuts and other
riddles for cracking.

Thus will we have a good repast in a little while. But whoever
wisheth to eat with us must also give a hand to the work, even the
kings. For with Zarathustra even a king may be a cook.”

This proposal appealed to the hearts of all of them, save that the
voluntary beggar objected to the flesh and wine and spices.

“Just hear this glutton Zarathustra!” said he jokingly: “doth one go
into caves and high mountains to make such repasts?

Now indeed do I understand what he once taught us: Blessed be
moderate poverty!’ And why he wisheth to do away with beggars.”

“Be of good cheer,” replied Zarathustra, “as I am. Abide by thy
customs, thou excellent one: grind thy corn, drink thy water, praise
thy cooking,- if only it make thee glad!

I am a law only for mine own; I am not a law for all. He, however,
who belongeth unto me must be strong of bone and light of foot,-

-Joyous in fight and feast, no sulker, no John o’ Dreams, ready
for the hardest task as for the feast, healthy and hale.

The best belongeth unto mine and me; and if it be not given us, then
do we take it:- the best food, the purest sky, the strongest thoughts,
the fairest women!”-

Thus spake Zarathustra; the king on the right however answered and
said: “Strange! Did one ever hear such sensible things out of the
mouth of a wise man?

And verily, it is the strangest thing in a wise man, if over and
above, he be still sensible, and not an ass.”

Thus spake the king on the right and wondered; the ass however, with
ill-will, said YE-A to his remark. This however was the beginning of
that long repast which is called “The Supper” in the history-books. At
this there was nothing else spoken of but the higher man.

73. The Higher Man


WHEN I came unto men for the first time, then did I commit the
anchorite folly, the great folly: I appeared on the market-place.

And when I spake unto all, I spake unto none. In the evening,
however, rope-dancers were my companions, and corpses; and I myself
almost a corpse.

With the new morning, however, there came unto me a new truth:
then did I learn to say: “Of what account to me are market-place and
populace and populace-noise and long populace-cars!”

Ye higher men, learn this from me: On the market-place no one
believeth in higher men. But if ye will speak there, very well! The
populace, however, blinketh: “We are all equal.”

“Ye higher men,”- so blinketh the populace- “there are no higher
men, we are all equal; man is man, before God- we are all equal!”

Before God!- Now, however, this God hath died. Before the
populace, however, we will not be equal. Ye higher men, away from
the market-place!


Before God!- Now however this God hath died! Ye higher men, this God
was your greatest danger.

Only since he lay in the grave have ye again arisen. Now only cometh
the great noontide, now only doth the higher man become- master!

Have ye understood this word, O my brethren? Ye are frightened: do
your hearts turn giddy? Doth the abyss here yawn for you? Doth the
hell-hound here yelp at you?

Well! Take heart! ye higher men! Now only travaileth the mountain of
the human future. God hath died: now do we desire- the Superman to


The most careful ask to-day: “How is man to be maintained?”
Zarathustra however asketh, as the first and only one: “How is man
to be surpassed?”

The Superman, I have at heart; that is the first and only thing to
me- and not man: not the neighbour, not the poorest, not the sorriest,
not the best.-

O my brethren, what I can love in man is that he is an over-going
and a down-going. And also in you there is much that maketh me love
and hope.

In that ye have despised, ye higher men, that maketh me hope. For
the great despisers are the great reverers.

In that ye have despaired, there is much to honour. For ye have
not learned to submit yourselves, ye have not learned petty policy.

For to-day have the petty people become master: they all preach
submission and humility and policy and diligence and consideration and
the long et cetera of petty virtues.

Whatever is of the effeminate type, whatever originateth from the
servile type, and especially the populace-mishmash:- that wisheth
now to be master of all human destiny- O disgust! Disgust! Disgust!

That asketh and asketh and never tireth: “How is man to maintain
himself best, longest, most pleasantly?” Thereby- are they the masters
of today.

These masters of today- surpass them, O my brethren- these petty
people: they are the Superman’s greatest danger!

Surpass, ye higher men, the petty virtues, the petty policy, the
sand-grain considerateness, the ant-hill trumpery, the pitiable
comfortableness, the “happiness of the greatest number”-!

And rather despair than submit yourselves. And verily, I love you,
because ye know not today how to live, ye higher men! For thus do ye
live- best!


Have ye courage, O my brethren? Are ye stout-hearted? Not the
courage before witnesses, but anchorite and eagle courage, which not
even a God any longer beholdeth?

Cold souls, mules, the blind and the drunken, I do not call
stout-hearted. He hath heart who knoweth fear, but vanquisheth it; who
seeth the abyss, but with pride.

He who seeth the abyss, but with eagle’s eyes,- he who with
eagle’s talons graspeth the abyss: he hath courage.- -


“Man is evil”- so said to me for consolation, all the wisest ones.
Ah, if only it be still true today! For the evil is man’s best force.

“Man must become better and eviler”- so do I teach. The evilest is
necessary for the Superman’s best.

It may have been well for the preacher of the petty people to suffer
and be burdened by men’s sin. I, however, rejoice in great sin as my
great consolation.-

Such things, however, are not said for long ears. Every word,
also, is not suited for every mouth. These are fine far-away things:
at them sheep’s claws shall not grasp!


Ye higher men, think ye that I am here to put right what ye have put

Or that I wished henceforth to make snugger couches for you
sufferers? Or show you restless, miswandering, misclimbing ones, new
and easier footpaths?

Nay! Nay! Three times Nay! Always more, always better ones of your
type shall succumb,- for ye shall always have it worse and harder.
Thus only-

-Thus only groweth man aloft to the height where the lightning
striketh and shattereth him: high enough for the lightning!

Towards the few, the long, the remote go forth my soul and my
seeking: of what account to me are your many little, short miseries!

Ye do not yet suffer enough for me! For ye suffer from yourselves,
ye have not yet suffered from man. Ye would lie if ye spake otherwise!
None of you suffereth from what I have suffered.- -


It is not enough for me that the lightning no longer doeth harm. I
do not wish to conduct it away: it shall learn- to work for me.-

My wisdom hath accumulated long like a cloud, it becometh stiller
and darker. So doeth all wisdom which shall one day bear lightnings.-

Unto these men of today will I not be light, nor be called light.
Them- will I blind: lightning of my wisdom! put out their eyes!


Do not will anything beyond your power: there is a bad falseness
in those who will beyond their power.

Especially when they will great things! For they awaken distrust
in great things, these subtle false-coiners and stage-players:-

-Until at last they are false towards themselves, squint-eyed,
whited cankers, glossed over with strong words, parade virtues and
brilliant false deeds.

Take good care there, ye higher men! For nothing is more precious to
me, and rarer, than honesty.

Is this today not that of the populace? The populace however knoweth
not what is great and what is small, what is straight and what is
honest: it is innocently crooked, it ever lieth.


Have a good distrust today ye, higher men, ye enheartened ones! Ye
open-hearted ones! And keep your reasons secret! For this today is
that of the populace.

What the populace once learned to believe without reasons, who
could- refute it to them by means of reasons?

And on the market-place one convinceth with gestures. But reasons
make the populace distrustful.

And when truth hath once triumphed there, then ask yourselves with
good distrust: “What strong error hath fought for it?”

Be on your guard also against the learned! They hate you, because
they are unproductive! They have cold, withered eyes before which
every bird is unplumed.

Such persons vaunt about not lying: but inability to lie is still
far from being love to truth. Be on your guard!

Freedom from fever is still far from being knowledge! Refrigerated
spirits I do not believe in. He who cannot lie, doth not know what
truth is.


If ye would go up high, then use your own legs! Do not get
yourselves carried aloft; do not seat yourselves on other people’s
backs and heads!

Thou hast mounted, however, on horseback? Thou now ridest briskly up
to thy goal? Well, my friend! But thy lame foot is also with thee on

When thou reachest thy goal, when thou alightest from thy horse:
precisely on thy height, thou higher man,- then wilt thou stumble!


Ye creating ones, ye higher men! One is only pregnant with one’s own

Do not let yourselves be imposed upon or put upon! Who then is
your neighbour? Even if ye act “for your neighbour”- ye still do not
create for him!

Unlearn, I pray you, this “for,” ye creating ones: your very
virtue wisheth you to have naught to do with “for” and “on account of”
and “because.” Against these false little words shall ye stop your

“For one’s neighbour,” is the virtue only of the petty people: there
it is said “like and like,” and “hand washeth hand”:- they have
neither the right nor the power for your self-seeking!

In your self-seeking, ye creating ones, there is the foresight and
foreseeing of the pregnant! What no one’s eye hath yet seen, namely,
the fruit- this, sheltereth and saveth and nourisheth your entire

Where your entire love is, namely, with your child, there is also
your entire virtue! Your work, your will is your “neighbour”: let no
false values impose upon you!


Ye creating ones, ye higher men! Whoever hath to give birth is sick;
whoever hath given birth, however, is unclean.

Ask women: one giveth birth, not because it giveth pleasure. The
pain maketh hens and poets cackle.

Ye creating ones, in you there is much uncleanliness. That is
because ye have had to be mothers.

A new child: oh, how much new filth hath also come into the world!
Go apart! He who hath given birth shall wash his soul!


Be not virtuous beyond your powers! And seek nothing from yourselves
opposed to probability!

Walk in the footsteps in which your fathers’ virtue hath already
walked! How would ye rise high, if your fathers’ will should not
rise with you?

He, however, who would be a firstling, let him take care lest he
also become a lastling! And where the vices of your fathers are, there
should ye not set up as saints!

He whose fathers were inclined for women, and for strong wine and
flesh of wildboar swine; what would it be if he demanded chastity of

A folly would it be! Much, verily, doth it seem to me for such a
one, if he should be the husband of one or of two or of three women.

And if he founded monasteries, and inscribed over their portals:
“The way to holiness,”- I should still say: What good is it! it is a
new folly!

He hath founded for himself a penance-house and refuge-house: much
good may it do! But I do not believe in it.

In solitude there groweth what any one bringeth into it- also the
brute in one’s nature. Thus is solitude inadvisable unto many.

Hath there ever been anything filthier on earth than the saints of
the wilderness? Around them was not only the devil loose- but also the


Shy, ashamed, awkward, like the tiger whose spring hath failed-
thus, ye higher men, have I often seen you slink aside. A cast which
ye made had failed.

But what doth it matter, ye dice-players! Ye had not learned to play
and mock, as one must play and mock! Do we not ever sit at a great
table of mocking and playing?

And if great things have been a failure with you, have ye yourselves
therefore- been a failure? And if ye yourselves have been a failure,
hath man therefore- been a failure? If man, however, hath been a
failure: well then! never mind!


The higher its type, always the seldomer doth a thing succeed. Ye
higher men here, have ye not all- been failures?

Be of good cheer; what doth it matter? How much is still possible!
Learn to laugh at yourselves, as ye ought to laugh!

What wonder even that ye have failed and only half-succeeded, ye
half-shattered ones! Doth not- man’s future strive and struggle in

Man’s furthest, profoundest, star-highest issues, his prodigious
powers- do not all these foam through one another in your vessel?

What wonder that many a vessel shattereth! Learn to laugh at
yourselves, as ye ought to laugh! Ye higher men, Oh, how much is still

And verily, how much hath already succeeded! How rich is this
earth in small, good, perfect things, in well-constituted things!

Set around you small, good, perfect things, ye higher men. Their
golden maturity healeth the heart. The perfect teacheth one to hope.


What hath hitherto been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not
the word of him who said: “Woe unto them that laugh now!”

Did he himself find no cause for laughter on the earth? Then he
sought badly. A child even findeth cause for it.

He- did not love sufficiently: otherwise would he also have loved
us, the laughing ones! But he hated and hooted us; wailing and
teeth-gnashing did he promise us.

Must one then curse immediately, when one doth not love? That-
seemeth to me bad taste. Thus did he, however, this absolute one. He
sprang from the populace.

And he himself just did not love sufficiently; otherwise would he
have raged less because people did not love him. All great love doth
not seek love:- it seeketh more.

Go out of the way of all such absolute ones! They are a poor
sickly type, a populace-type: they look at this life with ill-will,
they have an evil eye for this earth.

Go out of the way of all such absolute ones! They have heavy feet
and sultry hearts:- they do not know how to dance. How could the earth
be light to such ones!


Tortuously do all good things come nigh to their goal. Like cats
they curve their backs, they purr inwardly with their approaching
happiness,- all good things laugh.

His step betrayeth whether a person already walketh on his own path:
just see me walk! He, however, who cometh nigh to his goal, danceth.

And verily, a statue have I not become, not yet do I stand there
stiff, stupid and stony, like a pillar; I love fast racing.

And though there be on earth fens and dense afflictions, he who hath
light feet runneth even across the mud, and danceth, as upon
well-swept ice.

Lift up your hearts, my brethren, high, higher! And do not forget
your legs! Lift up also your legs, ye good dancers, and better
still, if ye stand upon your heads!


This crown of the laughter, this rose-garland crown: I myself have
put on this crown, I myself have consecrated my laughter. No one
else have I found to-day potent enough for this.

Zarathustra the dancer, Zarathustra the light one, who beckoneth
with his pinions, one ready for flight, beckoning unto all birds,
ready and prepared, a blissfully light-spirited one:-

Zarathustra the soothsayer, Zarathustra the sooth-laugher, no
impatient one, no absolute one, one who loveth leaps and side-leaps; I
myself have put on this crown!


Lift up your hearts, my brethren, high, higher! And do not forget
your legs! Lift up also your legs, ye good dancers, and better still
if ye stand upon your heads!

There are also heavy animals in a state of happiness, there are
club-footed ones from the beginning. Curiously do they exert
themselves, like an elephant which endeavoureth to stand upon its

Better, however, to be foolish with happiness than foolish with
misfortune, better to dance awkwardly than walk lamely. So learn, I
pray you, my wisdom, ye higher men: even the worst thing hath two good
reverse sides,-

-Even the worst thing hath good dancing-legs: so learn, I pray
you, ye higher men, to put yourselves on your proper legs!

So unlearn, I pray you, the sorrow-sighing, and all the
populace-sadness! Oh, how sad the buffoons of the populace seem to
me today! This today, however, is that of the populace.


Do like unto the wind when it rusheth forth from its mountain-caves:
unto its own piping will it dance; the seas tremble and leap under its

That which giveth wings to asses, that which milketh the lionesses:-
praised be that good, unruly spirit, which cometh like a hurricane
unto all the present and unto all the populace,-

-Which is hostile to thistle-heads and puzzle-heads, and to all
withered leaves and weeds:- praised be this wild, good, free spirit of
the storm, which danceth upon fens and afflictions, as upon meadows!

Which hateth the consumptive populace-dogs, and all the
ill-constituted, sullen brood:- praised be this spirit of all free
spirits, the laughing storm, which bloweth dust into the eyes of all
the melanopic and melancholic!

Ye higher men, the worst thing in you is that ye have none of you
learned to dance as ye ought to dance- to dance beyond yourselves!
What doth it matter that ye have failed!

How many things are still possible! So learn to laugh beyond
yourselves! Lift up your hearts, ye good dancers, high! higher! And do
not forget the good laughter!

This crown of the laughter, this rose-garland crown: to you, my
brethren, do I cast this crown! Laughing have I consecrated; ye higher
men, learn, I pray you- to laugh!

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