Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

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dust came from corn, and from the yellow delight of the sum-
mer fields?

When they give themselves out as wise, then do their petty
sayings and truths chill me: in their wisdom there is often an
odour as if it came from the swamp; and verily, I have even
heard the frog croak in it!

Clever are they they have dexterous fingers : what doth my


simplicity pretend to beside their multiplicity! All threading
and knitting and weaving do their fingers understand : thus do
they make the hose of the spirit!

Good clockworks are they : only be careful to wind them up
properly! Then do they indicate the hour without mistake, and
make a modest noise thereby.

Like millstones do they work, and like pestles : throw only
seed-corn unto them! they know well how to grind corn
small, and make white dust out of it.

They keep a sharp eye on one another, and do not trust each
other the best. Ingenious in little artifices, they wait for those
whose knowledge walketh on lame feet, like spiders do they

I saw them always prepare their poison with precaution;
and always did they put glass gloves on their fingers in doing

They also know how to play with false dice; and so eagerly
did I find them playing, that they perspired thereby.

We are alien to each other, and their virtues are even more
repugnant to my taste than their falsehoods and false dice.

And when I lived with them, then did I live above them.
Therefore did they take a dislike to me.

They want to hear nothing of any one walking above their
heads; and so they put wood and earth and rubbish betwixt me
and their heads.

Thus did they deafen the sound of my tread : and least have
I hitherto been heard by the most learned.

All mankind's faults and weaknesses did they put betwixt
themselves and me: they call it "false ceiling" in their

But nevertheless I walk with my thoughts above their heads;


and even should I walk on mine own errors, still would I be
above them and their heads.

For men are not equal: so speaketh justice. And what I will,
they may not will!

Thus spake Zarathustra.

. Poets

"SINCE I have known the body better" said Zarathustra to
one of his disciples "the spirit hath only been to me sym-
bolically spirit; and all the 'imperishable' that is also but a

"So have I heard thee say once before," answered the dis-
ciple, "and then thou addedst: 'But the poets lie too much.'
Why didst thou say that the poets lie too much?"

"Why?" said Zarathustra. 'Thou askest why? I do not
belong to those who may be asked after their Why.

Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I ex-
perienced the reasons for mine opinions.

Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to
have my reasons with me?

It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions;
and many a bird flieth away.

And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my
dovecote, which is alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my
hand upon it.

But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets
lie too much? But Zarathustra also is a poet.


Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou
believe it?"

The disciple answered: "I believe in Zarathustra." But
Zarathustra shook his head and smiled.

Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief
in myself.

But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the
poets lie too much: he was right we do lie too much.

We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are
obliged to lie.

And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many
a poisonous hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an
indescribable thing hath there been done.

And because we know little, therefore are we pleased from
the heart with the poor in spirit, especially when they are
young women!

And even of those things are we desirous, which old women
tell one another in the evening. This do we call the eternally
feminine in us.

And as if there were a special secret access to knowledge,
which choketh up for those who learn anything, so do wf
believe in the people and in their "wisdom."

This, however, do all poets believe: that whoever pricketh
up his ears when lying in the grass or on lonely slopes, learneth
something of the things that are betwixt heaven and earth.

And if there come unto them tender emotions, then do the
poets always think that nature herself is in love with them :

And that she stealeth to their ear to whisper secrets into it,
and amorous flatteries : of this do they plume and pride them-
selves, before all mortals!

Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of
which only the poets have dreamed!


And especially above the heavens: for all gods are poet-
symbolisations, poet-sophistications!

Verily, ever are we drawn aloft that is, to the realm of the
clouds: on these do we set our gaudy puppets, and then call
them gods and Supermen:

Are not they light enough for those chairs! all these gods
and Supermen?

Ah, how I am weary of all the inadequate that is insisted on
as actual! Ah, how I am weary of the poets!

When Zarathustra so spake, his disciple resented it, but
was silent. And Zarathustra also was silent; and his eye
directed itself inwardly, as if it gazed into the far distance. At
last he sighed and drew breath.

I am of today and heretofore, said he thereupon; but some-
thing is in me that is of the morrow, and the day following,
and the hereafter.

I became weary of the poets, of the old and of the new:
superficial are they all unto me, and shallow seas.

They did not think sufficiently into the depth; therefore their
feeling did not reach to the bottom.

Some sensation of voluptuousness and some sensation of
tedium: these have as yet been their best contemplation.

Ghost-breathing and ghost-whisking, seemeth to me all the
jingle- jangling of their harps; what have they known hitherto
of the fervour of tones!

They are also not pure enough for me: they all muddle their
water that it may seem deep.

And fain would they thereby prove themselves reconcilers :
but mediaries and mixers are they unto me, and half-and-half,
and impure!

Ah, I cast indeed my net into their sea, and meant to catch


good fish; but always did I draw up the head of some ancient

Thus did the sea give a stone to the hungry one. And they
themselves may well originate from the sea.

Certainly, one findeth pearls in them: thereby they are the
more like hard molluscs. And instead of a soul, I have often
found in them salt slime.

They have learned from the sea also its vanity: is not the
sea the peacock of peacocks?

Even before the ugliest of all buffaloes doth it spread out
its tail; never doth it tire of its lace-fan of silver and silk.

Disdainfully doth the buffalo glance thereat, nigh to the
sand with its soul, nigher still to the thicket, nighest, however,
to the swamp.

What is beauty and sea and peacock-splendour to it! This
parable I speak unto the poets.

Verily, their spirit itself is the peacock of peacocks, and a
sea of vanity!

Spectators seeketh the spirit of the poet should they even
be buffaloes!

But of this spirit became I weary; and I see the time coming
when it will become weary of itself.

Yea, changed have I seen the poets, and their glance turned
towards themselves.

Penitents of the spirit have I seen appearing; they grew out
of the poets.

Thus spake Zarathustra.


40. Great Events

THERE is an isle in the sea not far from the Happy Isles of
Zarathustra on which a volcano ever smoketh; of which isle
the people, and especially the old women amongst them, say
that it is placed as a rock before the gate of the nether- world;
but that through the volcano itself the narrow way leadeth
downwards which conducteth to this gate.

Now about the time that Zarathustra sojourned on the
Happy Isles, it happened that* a ship anchored at the isle on
which standeth the smoking mountain, and the crew went
ishore to shoot rabbits. About the noontide hour, however,
r/hen the captain and his men were together again, they saw
suddenly a man coming towards them through the air, and a
voice said distinctly: "It is time! It is the highest time!" But
when the figure was nearest to them ( it flew past quickly, how-
ever, like a shadow, in the direction of the volcano) , then did
they recognise with the greatest surprise that it was Zarathus-
tra; for they had all seen him before except the captain himself,
and they loved him as the people love: in such wise that love
and awe were combined in equal degree.

"Behold!" said the old helmsman, "there goeth Zarathustra
to hell!"

About the same time that these sailors landed on the fire-
isle, there was a rumour that Zarathustra had disappeared; and
when his friends were asked about it, they said that he had
gone on board a ship by night, without saying whither he was

Thus there arose some uneasiness. After three days, how-
ever, there came the story of the ship's crew in addition to this


uneasiness and then did all the people say that the devil had
taken Zarathustra. His disciples laughed, sure enough, at this
talk; and one of them said even: "Sooner would I believe that
Zarathustra hath taken the devil." But at the bottom of their
hearts they were all full of anxiety and longing: so their joy
was great when on the fifth day Zarathustra appeared amongst

And this is the account of Zarathustra' s interview with the

The earth, said he, hath a skin; and this skin hath diseases.
One of these diseases, for example, is called "man."

And another of these diseases is called "the fire-dog": con-
cerning him men have greatly deceived themselves, and let
themselves be deceived.

To fathom this mystery did I go o'er the sea; and I have
seen the truth naked, verily! barefooted up to the neck.

Now do I know how it is concerning the fire-dog; and
likewise concerning all the spouting and subversive devils, of
which not only old women are afraid.

"Up with thee, fire-dog, out of thy depth!" cried I, "and
confess how deep that depth is! Whence cometh that which
thou snortest up?

Thou drinkest copiously at the sea: that doth thine embit-
tered eloquence betray! In sooth, for a dog of the depth, thou
takest thy nourishment too much from the surface!

At the most, I regard thee as the ventriloquist of the earth :
and ever, when I have heard subversive and spouting devils
speak, I have found them like thee: embittered, mendacious,
and shallow.

Ye understand how to roar and obscure with ashes! Ye are
the best braggarts, and have sufficiently learned the art of
making dregs boil.


Where ye are, there must always be dregs at hand, and much
that is spongy, hollow, and compressed: it wanteth to have

'Freedom' ye all roar most eagerly: but I have unlearned the
belief in 'great events,' when there is much roaring and smoke
about them.

And believe me, friend Hullabaloo! The greatest events
are not our noisiest, but our stillest hours.

Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the in-
ventors of new values, doth the world revolve; maudibly it

And just own to it! Little had ever taken place when thy
noise and smoke passed away. What, if a city did become a
mummy, and a statue lay in the mud!

And this do I say also to the o'erthrowers of statues: It is
certainly the greatest folly to throw salt into the sea, and statues
into the mud.

In the mud of your contempt lay the statue: but it is just its
law, that out of contempt, its life and living beauty grow again!

With diviner features doth it now arise, seducing by its
suffering; and verily! it will yet thank you for o'erthrowing it,
ye subverters!

This counsel, however, do I counsel to kings and churches,
and to all that is weak with age or virtue let yourselves be
o'erthrown! That ye may again come to life, and that virtue
may come to you! "

Thus spake I before the fire-dog: then did he interrupt me
sullenly, and asked: "Church? What is that?"

"Church?" answered I, "that is a kind of state, and indeed
the most mendacious. But remain quiet, thou dissembling dog!
Thou surely knowest thine own species best!

Like thyself the state is a dissembling dog; like thee doth


it like to speak with smoke and roaring to make believe, like
thee, that it speaketh out of the heart of things.

For it seeketh by all means to be the most important crea-
ture on earth, the state; and people think it so."

When I had said this, the fire-dog acted as if mad with envy.
"What!" cried he, "the most important creature on earth? And
people think it so?" And so much vapour and terrible voices
came out of his throat, that I thought he would choke with
vexation and envy.

At last he became calmer and his panting subsided; as soon,
however, as he was quiet, I said laughingly:

'Thou art angry, fire-dog: so I am in the right about thee!

And that I may also maintain the right, hear the story of
another fire-dog; he speaketh actually out of theheart of the

Gold doth his breath exhale, and golden rain: so doth his
heart desire. What are ashes and smoke ind hot dregs to him!

Laughter flitteth from him like a variegated cloud; adverse is
he to thy gargling and spewing and grips in the bowels!

The gold, however, and the laughter these doth he take
out of the heart of the earth : for, that thou mayst know it,
the heart of the earth is of gold."

When the fire-dog heard this, he could no longer endure to
listen to me. Abashed did he draw in his tail, said "bow-wow!"
in a cowed voice, and crept down into his cave.

Thus told Zarathustra. His disciples, however, hardly
listened to him: so great was their eagerness to tell him about
the sailors, the rabbits, and the flying man.

"What am I to think of it!" said Zarathustra. "Am I indeed
a ghost?

But it may have been my shadow. Ye have surely heard some-
thing of the Wanderer and his Shadow?


One thing, however, is certain: I must keep a tighter hold
of it; otherwise it will spoil my reputation."

And once more Zarathustra shook his head and wondered.
"What am I to think of it!" said he once more.

"Why did the ghost cry: 'It is time! It is the highest time!'

For what is it then the highest time?"

Thus spake Zarathustra.

41. The Soothsayer

" AND I saw a great sadness come over mankind. The best
turned weary of their works.

A doctrine appeared, a faith ran beside it: 'All is empty, all
is alike, all hath been!'

And from all hills there re-echoed: 'All is empty, all is
alike, all hath been!'

To be sure we have harvested: but why have all our fruits
become rotten and brown? What was it fell last night from
the evil moon?

In vain was all our labour, poison hath our wine become, the
evil eye hath singed yellow our fields and hearts.

Arid have we all become; and fire falling upon us, then do
we turn dust like ashes: yea, the fire itself have we made

All our fountains have dried up, even the sea hath receded.
All the ground trieth to gape, but the depth will not swallow!

'Alas! where is there still a sea in which one could be
drowned?' so soundeth our plaint across shallow swamps.


Verily, even for dying have we become too weary; now do
we keep awake and live on in sepulchres."

Thus did Zarathustra hear a soothsayer speak; and the fore-
boding touched his heart and transformed him. Sorrowfully
did he go about and wearily; and he became like unto those of
whom the soothsayer had spoken.

Verily, said he unto his disciples, a little while, and there
cometh the long twilight. Alas, how shall I preserve my light
through it!

That it may not smother in this sorrowfulness! To remoter
worlds shall it be a light, and also to remotest nights!

Thus did Zarathustra go about grieved in his heart, and for
three days he did not take any meat or drink: he had no rest
and lost his speech. At last it came to pass that he fell into a
deep sleep. His disciples, however, sat around him in long
night-watches, and waited anxiously to see if he would awake,
and speak again, and recover from his affliction.

And this is the discourse that Zarathustra spake when he
awoke; his voice, however, came unto his disciples as from

Hear, I pray you, the dream that I dreamed, my friends, and
help me to divine its meaning!

A riddle is it still unto me, this dream; the meaning is hidden
in it and encaged, and doth not yet fly above it on free pinions.

All life had I renounced, so I dreamed. Night-watchman
and grave-guardian had I become, aloft, in the lone mountain-
fortress of Death.

There did I guard his coffins: full stood the musty vaults of
those trophies of victory. Out of glass coffins did vanquished
life gaze upon me.

The odour of dust-covered eternities did I breathe: sultry


and dust-covered lay my soul. And who could have aired his
soul there!

Brightness of midnight was ever around me; lonesomeness
cowered beside her; and as a third, death-rattle stillness, the
worst of my female friends.

Keys did I carry, the rustiest of all keys; and I knew how to
open with them the most creaking of all gates.

Like a bitterly angry croaking ran the sound through the
long corridors when the leaves of the gate opened: ungra-
ciously did this bird cry, unwillingly was it awakened.

But more frightful even, and more heart-strangling was it,
when it again became silent and still all around, and I alone
sat in that malignant silence.

Thus did time pass with me, and slip by, if time there still
was: what do I know thereof! But at last there happened that
which awoke me.

Thrice did there peal peals at the gate like thunders, thrice
did the vaults resound and howl again: then did I go to the

Alpa! cried I, who carrieth his ashes unto the mountain?
Alpa! Alpa! who carrieth his ashes unto the mountain?

And I pressed the key, and pulled at the gate, and exerted
myself. But not a finger's-breadth was it yet open :

Then did a roaring wind tear the folds apart: whistling,
whizzing, and piercing, it threw unto me a black coffin.

And in the roaring and whistling and whizzing, the coffin
burst open, and spouted out a thousand peals of laughter.

And a thousand caricatures of children, angels, owls, fools,
and child-sized butterflies laughed and mocked, and roared at

Fearfully was I terrified thereby: it prostrated me. And I
cried with horror as I ne'er cried before.


But mine own crying awoke me: and I came to myself.

Thus did Zarathustra relate his dream, and then was silent:
for as yet he knew not the interpretation thereof. But the dis-
ciple whom he loved most arose quickly, seized Zarathustra's
hand, and said:

"Thy life itself interpreteth unto us this dream, O Zara-

Art thou not thyself the wind with shrill whistling, which
bursteth open the gates of the fortress of Death?

Art thou not thyself the coffin full of many-hued malices and
angel-caricatures of life?

Verily, like a thousand peals of children's laughter cometh
Zarathustra into all sepulchres, laughing at those night-watch-
men and grave-guardians, and whoever else rattleth with sinis-
ter keys.

With thy laughter wilt thou frighten and prostrate them:
fainting and recovering wilt thou demonstrate thy power over

And when the long twilight cometh and the mortal weari-
ness, even then wilt thou not disappear from our firmament,
thou advocate of life!

New stars hast thou made us see, and new nocturnal glories:
verily, laughter itself hast thou spread out over us like a many-
hued canopy.

Now will children's laughter ever from coffins flow; now
will a strong wind ever come victoriously unto all mortal weari-
ness: of this thou art thyself the pledge and the prophet!

Verily, they themselves didst thou dream, thine enemies:
that was thy sorest dream.

But as thou awokest from them and earnest to thyself, so
shall they awaken from themselves and come unto thee!"

Thus spake the disciple; and all the others then thronged


around Zarathustra, grasped him by the hands, and tried to
persuade him to leave his bed and his sadness, and return unto
them. Zarathustra, however, sat upright on his couch, with an
absent look. Like one returning from long foreign sojourn did
he look on his disciples, and examined their features; but still
he knew them not. When, however, they raised him, and set
him upon his feet, behold, all on a sudden his eye changed; he
understood everything that had happened, stroked his beard,
and said with a strong voice:

"Well! this hath just its time; but see to it, my disciples,
that we have a good repast,' and without delay! Thus do I mean
to make amends for bad dreams!

The soothsayer, however, shall eat and drink at my side:
and verily, I will yet show him a sea in which he can drown

Thus spake Zarathustra. Then did he gaze long into the
face of the disciple who had been the dream-interpreter, and
shook his head.

. Redemption

WHEN Zarathustra went one day over the great bridge, then
did the cripples and beggars surround him, and a hunchback
spake thus unto him :

"Behold, Zarathustra! Even the people learn from thee, and
acquire faith in thy teaching: but for them to believe fully in
thee, one thing is still needful thou must first of all convince
us cripples! Here hast thou now a fine selection, and verily, an


opportunity with more than one forelock! The blind canst thou
heal, and make the lame run; and from him who hath too
much behind, couldst thou well, also, take away a little;
that, I think, would be the right method to make the cripples
believe in Zarathustra!"

Zarathustra, however, answered thus unto him who so
spake : When one taketh his hump from the hunchback, then
doth one take from him his spirit so do the people teach.
And when one giveth the blind man eyes, then doth he see too
many bad things on the earth: so that he curseth him who
healed him. He, however, who maketh the lame man run, in-
flicted! upon him the greatest injury; for hardly can he run,
when his vices run away with him so do the people teach
concerning cripples. And why should not Zarathustra also
learn from the people, when the people learn from Zara-

It is, however, the smallest thing unto me since I have been
amongst men, to see one person lacking an eye, another an
ear, and a third a leg, and that others have lost the tongue, or
the nose, or the head.

I see and have seen worse things, and divers things so
hideous, that I should neither like to speak of all matters, nor
even keep silent about some of them: namely, men who lack
everything, except that they have too much of one thing men
who are nothing more than a big eye, or a big mouth, or a big
belly, or something else big, reversed cripples, I call such

And when I came out of my solitude, and for the first time
passed over this bridge, then I could not trust mine eyes, but
looked again and again, and said at last: 'That is an ear! An
ear as big as a man!" I looked still more attentively and ac-


tually there did move under the ear something that was pitiably
small and poor and slim. And in truth this immense ear was
perched on a small thin stalk the stalk, however, was a man!
A person putting a glass to his eyes, could even recognise fur-
ther a small envious countenance, and also that a bloated
soullet dangled at the stalk. The people told me, however, that
the big ear was not only a man, but a great man, a genius. But
I never believed in the people when they spake of great men
and I hold to my belief that it was a reversed cripple, who
had too little of everything, and too much of one thing.

When Zarathustra had spoken thus unto the hunchback, and
unto those of whom the hunchback was the mouthpiece and
advocate, then did he turn to his disciples in profound dejec-
tion, and said :

Verily, my friends, I walk amongst men as amongst the
fragments and limbs of human beings!

This is the terrible thing to mine eye, that I find man
broken up, and scattered about, as on a battle- and butcher-

And when mine eye fleeth from the present to the bygone, it
findeth ever the same: fragments and limbs and fearful chances
but no men!

The present and the bygone upon earth ah! my friends
that is my most unbearable trouble; and I should not know how

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