|Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “What matter about
their mockery! Thou art one who hast unlearned to obey: now shalt thou
Knowest thou not who is most needed by all? He who commandeth great
To execute great things is difficult: but the more difficult task is to
command great things.
This is thy most unpardonable obstinacy: thou hast the power, and thou
wilt not rule.”–
And I answered: “I lack the lion’s voice for all commanding.”
Then was there again spoken unto me as a whispering: “It is the stillest
words which bring the storm. Thoughts that come with doves’ footsteps
guide the world.
O Zarathustra, thou shalt go as a shadow of that which is to come: thus
wilt thou command, and in commanding go foremost.”–
And I answered: “I am ashamed.”
Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “Thou must yet become
a child, and be without shame.
The pride of youth is still upon thee; late hast thou become young: but
he who would become a child must surmount even his youth.”–
And I considered a long while, and trembled. At last, however, did I say
what I had said at first. “I will not.”
Then did a laughing take place all around me. Alas, how that laughing
lacerated my bowels and cut into my heart!
And there was spoken unto me for the last time: “O Zarathustra, thy
fruits are ripe, but thou art not ripe for thy fruits!
So must thou go again into solitude: for thou shalt yet become
And again was there a laughing, and it fled: then did it become still
around me, as with a double stillness. I lay, however, on the ground,
and the sweat flowed from my limbs.
–Now have ye heard all, and why I have to return into my solitude.
Nothing have I kept hidden from you, my friends.
But even this have ye heard from me, WHO is still the most reserved of
men–and will be so!
Ah, my friends! I should have something more to say unto you! I should
have something more to give unto you! Why do I not give it? Am I then a
When, however, Zarathustra had spoken these words, the violence of his
pain, and a sense of the nearness of his departure from his friends came
over him, so that he wept aloud; and no one knew how to console him. In
the night, however, he went away alone and left his friends.
“Ye look aloft when ye long for exaltation, and I look downward because
I am exalted.
“Who among you can at the same time laugh and be exalted?
“He who climbeth on the highest mountains, laugheth at all tragic plays
and tragic realities.”–ZARATHUSTRA, I., “Reading and Writing.”
XLV. THE WANDERER.
Then, when it was about midnight, Zarathustra went his way over the
ridge of the isle, that he might arrive early in the morning at the
other coast; because there he meant to embark. For there was a good
roadstead there, in which foreign ships also liked to anchor: those
ships took many people with them, who wished to cross over from the
Happy Isles. So when Zarathustra thus ascended the mountain, he thought
on the way of his many solitary wanderings from youth onwards, and how
many mountains and ridges and summits he had already climbed.
I am a wanderer and mountain-climber, said he to his heart, I love not
the plains, and it seemeth I cannot long sit still.
And whatever may still overtake me as fate and experience–a wandering
will be therein, and a mountain-climbing: in the end one experienceth
The time is now past when accidents could befall me; and what COULD now
fall to my lot which would not already be mine own!
It returneth only, it cometh home to me at last–mine own Self, and
such of it as hath been long abroad, and scattered among things and
And one thing more do I know: I stand now before my last summit, and
before that which hath been longest reserved for me. Ah, my hardest path
must I ascend! Ah, I have begun my lonesomest wandering!
He, however, who is of my nature doth not avoid such an hour: the hour
that saith unto him: Now only dost thou go the way to thy greatness!
Summit and abyss–these are now comprised together!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: now hath it become thy last refuge,
what was hitherto thy last danger!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: it must now be thy best courage
that there is no longer any path behind thee!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: here shall no one steal after thee!
Thy foot itself hath effaced the path behind thee, and over it standeth
And if all ladders henceforth fail thee, then must thou learn to mount
upon thine own head: how couldst thou mount upward otherwise?
Upon thine own head, and beyond thine own heart! Now must the gentlest
in thee become the hardest.
He who hath always much-indulged himself, sickeneth at last by his
much-indulgence. Praises on what maketh hardy! I do not praise the land
where butter and honey–flow!
To learn TO LOOK AWAY FROM oneself, is necessary in order to see MANY
THINGS:–this hardiness is needed by every mountain-climber.
He, however, who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner, how can he
ever see more of anything than its foreground!
But thou, O Zarathustra, wouldst view the ground of everything, and its
background: thus must thou mount even above thyself–up, upwards, until
thou hast even thy stars UNDER thee!
Yea! To look down upon myself, and even upon my stars: that only would I
call my SUMMIT, that hath remained for me as my LAST summit!–
Thus spake Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his heart
with harsh maxims: for he was sore at heart as he had never been before.
And when he had reached the top of the mountain-ridge, behold, there
lay the other sea spread out before him: and he stood still and was
long silent. The night, however, was cold at this height, and clear and
I recognise my destiny, said he at last, sadly. Well! I am ready. Now
hath my last lonesomeness begun.
Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal vexation!
Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now GO DOWN!
Before my highest mountain do I stand, and before my longest wandering:
therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended:
–Deeper down into pain than I ever ascended, even into its darkest
flood! So willeth my fate. Well! I am ready.
Whence come the highest mountains? so did I once ask. Then did I learn
that they come out of the sea.
That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of their
summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its height.–
Thus spake Zarathustra on the ridge of the mountain where it was cold:
when, however, he came into the vicinity of the sea, and at last stood
alone amongst the cliffs, then had he become weary on his way, and
eagerer than ever before.
Everything as yet sleepeth, said he; even the sea sleepeth. Drowsily and
strangely doth its eye gaze upon me.
But it breatheth warmly–I feel it. And I feel also that it dreameth. It
tosseth about dreamily on hard pillows.
Hark! Hark! How it groaneth with evil recollections! Or evil
Ah, I am sad along with thee, thou dusky monster, and angry with myself
even for thy sake.
Ah, that my hand hath not strength enough! Gladly, indeed, would I free
thee from evil dreams!–
And while Zarathustra thus spake, he laughed at himself with melancholy
and bitterness. What! Zarathustra, said he, wilt thou even sing
consolation to the sea?
Ah, thou amiable fool, Zarathustra, thou too-blindly confiding one! But
thus hast thou ever been: ever hast thou approached confidently all that
Every monster wouldst thou caress. A whiff of warm breath, a little soft
tuft on its paw–: and immediately wert thou ready to love and lure it.
LOVE is the danger of the lonesomest one, love to anything, IF IT ONLY
LIVE! Laughable, verily, is my folly and my modesty in love!–
Thus spake Zarathustra, and laughed thereby a second time. Then,
however, he thought of his abandoned friends–and as if he had done them
a wrong with his thoughts, he upbraided himself because of his thoughts.
And forthwith it came to pass that the laugher wept–with anger and
longing wept Zarathustra bitterly.
XLVI. THE VISION AND THE ENIGMA.
When it got abroad among the sailors that Zarathustra was on board the
ship–for a man who came from the Happy Isles had gone on board along
with him,–there was great curiosity and expectation. But Zarathustra
kept silent for two days, and was cold and deaf with sadness; so that he
neither answered looks nor questions. On the evening of the second day,
however, he again opened his ears, though he still kept silent: for
there were many curious and dangerous things to be heard on board the
ship, which came from afar, and was to go still further. Zarathustra,
however, was fond of all those who make distant voyages, and dislike to
live without danger. And behold! when listening, his own tongue was
at last loosened, and the ice of his heart broke. Then did he begin to
To you, the daring venturers and adventurers, and whoever hath embarked
with cunning sails upon frightful seas,–
To you the enigma-intoxicated, the twilight-enjoyers, whose souls are
allured by flutes to every treacherous gulf:
–For ye dislike to grope at a thread with cowardly hand; and where ye
can DIVINE, there do ye hate to CALCULATE–
To you only do I tell the enigma that I SAW–the vision of the
Gloomily walked I lately in corpse-coloured twilight–gloomily and
sternly, with compressed lips. Not only one sun had set for me.
A path which ascended daringly among boulders, an evil, lonesome path,
which neither herb nor shrub any longer cheered, a mountain-path,
crunched under the daring of my foot.
Mutely marching over the scornful clinking of pebbles, trampling the
stone that let it slip: thus did my foot force its way upwards.
Upwards:–in spite of the spirit that drew it downwards, towards the
abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and arch-enemy.
Upwards:–although it sat upon me, half-dwarf, half-mole; paralysed,
paralysing; dripping lead in mine ear, and thoughts like drops of lead
into my brain.
“O Zarathustra,” it whispered scornfully, syllable by syllable, “thou
stone of wisdom! Thou threwest thyself high, but every thrown stone
O Zarathustra, thou stone of wisdom, thou sling-stone, thou
star-destroyer! Thyself threwest thou so high,–but every thrown
Condemned of thyself, and to thine own stoning: O Zarathustra, far
indeed threwest thou thy stone–but upon THYSELF will it recoil!”
Then was the dwarf silent; and it lasted long. The silence, however,
oppressed me; and to be thus in pairs, one is verily lonesomer than when
I ascended, I ascended, I dreamt, I thought,–but everything oppressed
me. A sick one did I resemble, whom bad torture wearieth, and a worse
dream reawakeneth out of his first sleep.–
But there is something in me which I call courage: it hath hitherto
slain for me every dejection. This courage at last bade me stand still
and say: “Dwarf! Thou! Or I!”–
For courage is the best slayer,–courage which ATTACKETH: for in every
attack there is sound of triumph.
Man, however, is the most courageous animal: thereby hath he overcome
every animal. With sound of triumph hath he overcome every pain; human
pain, however, is the sorest pain.
Courage slayeth also giddiness at abysses: and where doth man not stand
at abysses! Is not seeing itself–seeing abysses?
Courage is the best slayer: courage slayeth also fellow-suffering.
Fellow-suffering, however, is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man
looketh into life, so deeply also doth he look into suffering.
Courage, however, is the best slayer, courage which attacketh: it
slayeth even death itself; for it saith: “WAS THAT life? Well! Once
In such speech, however, there is much sound of triumph. He who hath
ears to hear, let him hear.–
“Halt, dwarf!” said I. “Either I–or thou! I, however, am the stronger
of the two:–thou knowest not mine abysmal thought! IT–couldst thou not
Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang from my
shoulder, the prying sprite! And it squatted on a stone in front of me.
There was however a gateway just where we halted.
“Look at this gateway! Dwarf!” I continued, “it hath two faces. Two
roads come together here: these hath no one yet gone to the end of.
This long lane backwards: it continueth for an eternity. And that long
lane forward–that is another eternity.
They are antithetical to one another, these roads; they directly abut on
one another:–and it is here, at this gateway, that they come together.
The name of the gateway is inscribed above: ‘This Moment.’
But should one follow them further–and ever further and further
on, thinkest thou, dwarf, that these roads would be eternally
“Everything straight lieth,” murmured the dwarf, contemptuously. “All
truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.”
“Thou spirit of gravity!” said I wrathfully, “do not take it too
lightly! Or I shall let thee squat where thou squattest, Haltfoot,–and
I carried thee HIGH!”
“Observe,” continued I, “This Moment! From the gateway, This Moment,
there runneth a long eternal lane BACKWARDS: behind us lieth an
Must not whatever CAN run its course of all things, have already run
along that lane? Must not whatever CAN happen of all things have already
happened, resulted, and gone by?
And if everything have already existed, what thinkest thou, dwarf, of
This Moment? Must not this gateway also–have already existed?
And are not all things closely bound together in such wise that This
Moment draweth all coming things after it? CONSEQUENTLY–itself also?
For whatever CAN run its course of all things, also in this long lane
OUTWARD–MUST it once more run!–
And this slow spider which creepeth in the moonlight, and this moonlight
itself, and thou and I in this gateway whispering together, whispering
of eternal things–must we not all have already existed?
–And must we not return and run in that other lane out before us, that
long weird lane–must we not eternally return?”–
Thus did I speak, and always more softly: for I was afraid of mine own
thoughts, and arrear-thoughts. Then, suddenly did I hear a dog HOWL near
Had I ever heard a dog howl thus? My thoughts ran back. Yes! When I was
a child, in my most distant childhood:
–Then did I hear a dog howl thus. And saw it also, with hair bristling,
its head upwards, trembling in the stillest midnight, when even dogs
believe in ghosts:
–So that it excited my commiseration. For just then went the full moon,
silent as death, over the house; just then did it stand still, a glowing
globe–at rest on the flat roof, as if on some one’s property:–
Thereby had the dog been terrified: for dogs believe in thieves and
ghosts. And when I again heard such howling, then did it excite my
commiseration once more.
Where was now the dwarf? And the gateway? And the spider? And all the
whispering? Had I dreamt? Had I awakened? ‘Twixt rugged rocks did I
suddenly stand alone, dreary in the dreariest moonlight.
BUT THERE LAY A MAN! And there! The dog leaping, bristling, whining–now
did it see me coming–then did it howl again, then did it CRY:–had I
ever heard a dog cry so for help?
And verily, what I saw, the like had I never seen. A young shepherd did
I see, writhing, choking, quivering, with distorted countenance, and
with a heavy black serpent hanging out of his mouth.
Had I ever seen so much loathing and pale horror on one countenance?
He had perhaps gone to sleep? Then had the serpent crawled into his
throat–there had it bitten itself fast.
My hand pulled at the serpent, and pulled:–in vain! I failed to pull
the serpent out of his throat. Then there cried out of me: “Bite! Bite!
Its head off! Bite!”–so cried it out of me; my horror, my hatred, my
loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice out of
Ye daring ones around me! Ye venturers and adventurers, and whoever
of you have embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas! Ye
Solve unto me the enigma that I then beheld, interpret unto me the
vision of the lonesomest one!
For it was a vision and a foresight:–WHAT did I then behold in parable?
And WHO is it that must come some day?
WHO is the shepherd into whose throat the serpent thus crawled? WHO is
the man into whose throat all the heaviest and blackest will thus crawl?
–The shepherd however bit as my cry had admonished him; he bit with a
strong bite! Far away did he spit the head of the serpent–: and sprang
No longer shepherd, no longer man–a transfigured being, a
light-surrounded being, that LAUGHED! Never on earth laughed a man as HE
O my brethren, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter,–and now
gnaweth a thirst at me, a longing that is never allayed.
My longing for that laughter gnaweth at me: oh, how can I still endure
to live! And how could I endure to die at present!–
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XLVII. INVOLUNTARY BLISS.
With such enigmas and bitterness in his heart did Zarathustra sail o’er
the sea. When, however, he was four day-journeys from the Happy
Isles and from his friends, then had he surmounted all his pain–:
triumphantly and with firm foot did he again accept his fate. And then
talked Zarathustra in this wise to his exulting conscience:
Alone am I again, and like to be so, alone with the pure heaven, and the
open sea; and again is the afternoon around me.
On an afternoon did I find my friends for the first time; on an
afternoon, also, did I find them a second time:–at the hour when all
light becometh stiller.
For whatever happiness is still on its way ‘twixt heaven and earth, now
seeketh for lodging a luminous soul: WITH HAPPINESS hath all light now
O afternoon of my life! Once did my happiness also descend to the valley
that it might seek a lodging: then did it find those open hospitable
O afternoon of my life! What did I not surrender that I might have
one thing: this living plantation of my thoughts, and this dawn of my
Companions did the creating one once seek, and children of HIS hope: and
lo, it turned out that he could not find them, except he himself should
first create them.
Thus am I in the midst of my work, to my children going, and from
them returning: for the sake of his children must Zarathustra perfect
For in one’s heart one loveth only one’s child and one’s work; and where
there is great love to oneself, then is it the sign of pregnancy: so
have I found it.
Still are my children verdant in their first spring, standing nigh one
another, and shaken in common by the winds, the trees of my garden and
of my best soil.
And verily, where such trees stand beside one another, there ARE Happy
But one day will I take them up, and put each by itself alone: that it
may learn lonesomeness and defiance and prudence.
Gnarled and crooked and with flexible hardness shall it then stand by
the sea, a living lighthouse of unconquerable life.
Yonder where the storms rush down into the sea, and the snout of the
mountain drinketh water, shall each on a time have his day and night
watches, for HIS testing and recognition.
Recognised and tested shall each be, to see if he be of my type and
lineage:–if he be master of a long will, silent even when he speaketh,
and giving in such wise that he TAKETH in giving:–
–So that he may one day become my companion, a fellow-creator and
fellow-enjoyer with Zarathustra:–such a one as writeth my will on my
tables, for the fuller perfection of all things.
And for his sake and for those like him, must I perfect MYSELF:
therefore do I now avoid my happiness, and present myself to every
misfortune–for MY final testing and recognition.
And verily, it were time that I went away; and the wanderer’s shadow and
the longest tedium and the stillest hour–have all said unto me: “It is
the highest time!”
The word blew to me through the keyhole and said “Come!” The door sprang
subtlely open unto me, and said “Go!”
But I lay enchained to my love for my children: desire spread this
snare for me–the desire for love–that I should become the prey of my
children, and lose myself in them.
Desiring–that is now for me to have lost myself. I POSSESS YOU, MY
CHILDREN! In this possessing shall everything be assurance and nothing
But brooding lay the sun of my love upon me, in his own juice stewed
Zarathustra,–then did shadows and doubts fly past me.
For frost and winter I now longed: “Oh, that frost and winter would
again make me crack and crunch!” sighed I:–then arose icy mist out of
My past burst its tomb, many pains buried alive woke up–: fully slept
had they merely, concealed in corpse-clothes.
So called everything unto me in signs: “It is time!” But I–heard not,
until at last mine abyss moved, and my thought bit me.
Ah, abysmal thought, which art MY thought! When shall I find strength to
hear thee burrowing, and no longer tremble?
To my very throat throbbeth my heart when I hear thee burrowing! Thy
muteness even is like to strangle me, thou abysmal mute one!
As yet have I never ventured to call thee UP; it hath been enough that
I–have carried thee about with me! As yet have I not been strong
enough for my final lion-wantonness and playfulness.
Sufficiently formidable unto me hath thy weight ever been: but one day
shall I yet find the strength and the lion’s voice which will call thee
When I shall have surmounted myself therein, then will I surmount myself
also in that which is greater; and a VICTORY shall be the seal of my
Meanwhile do I sail along on uncertain seas; chance flattereth me,
smooth-tongued chance; forward and backward do I gaze–, still see I no
As yet hath the hour of my final struggle not come to me–or doth it
come to me perhaps just now? Verily, with insidious beauty do sea and
life gaze upon me round about:
O afternoon of my life! O happiness before eventide! O haven upon high
seas! O peace in uncertainty! How I distrust all of you!
Verily, distrustful am I of your insidious beauty! Like the lover am I,
who distrusteth too sleek smiling.
As he pusheth the best-beloved before him–tender even in severity, the
jealous one–, so do I push this blissful hour before me.
Away with thee, thou blissful hour! With thee hath there come to me an
involuntary bliss! Ready for my severest pain do I here stand:–at the
wrong time hast thou come!
Away with thee, thou blissful hour! Rather harbour there–with my
children! Hasten! and bless them before eventide with MY happiness!
There, already approacheth eventide: the sun sinketh. Away–my
Thus spake Zarathustra. And he waited for his misfortune the whole
night; but he waited in vain. The night remained clear and calm, and
happiness itself came nigher and nigher unto him. Towards morning,
however, Zarathustra laughed to his heart, and said mockingly:
“Happiness runneth after me. That is because I do not run after women.
Happiness, however, is a woman.”
XLVIII. BEFORE SUNRISE.
O heaven above me, thou pure, thou deep heaven! Thou abyss of light!
Gazing on thee, I tremble with divine desires.
Up to thy height to toss myself–that is MY depth! In thy purity to hide
myself–that is MINE innocence!
The God veileth his beauty: thus hidest thou thy stars. Thou speakest
not: THUS proclaimest thou thy wisdom unto me.
Mute o’er the raging sea hast thou risen for me to-day; thy love and thy
modesty make a revelation unto my raging soul.
In that thou camest unto me beautiful, veiled in thy beauty, in that
thou spakest unto me mutely, obvious in thy wisdom:
Oh, how could I fail to divine all the modesty of thy soul! BEFORE the
sun didst thou come unto me–the lonesomest one.
We have been friends from the beginning: to us are grief, gruesomeness,
and ground common; even the sun is common to us.
We do not speak to each other, because we know too much–: we keep
silent to each other, we smile our knowledge to each other.
Art thou not the light of my fire? Hast thou not the sister-soul of mine
Together did we learn everything; together did we learn to ascend beyond
ourselves to ourselves, and to smile uncloudedly:–
–Uncloudedly to smile down out of luminous eyes and out of miles of
distance, when under us constraint and purpose and guilt steam like
And wandered I alone, for WHAT did my soul hunger by night and in
labyrinthine paths? And climbed I mountains, WHOM did I ever seek, if
not thee, upon mountains?
And all my wandering and mountain-climbing: a necessity was it merely,
and a makeshift of the unhandy one:–to FLY only, wanteth mine entire
will, to fly into THEE!
And what have I hated more than passing clouds, and whatever tainteth
thee? And mine own hatred have I even hated, because it tainted thee!
The passing clouds I detest–those stealthy cats of prey: they take
from thee and me what is common to us–the vast unbounded Yea- and
These mediators and mixers we detest–the passing clouds: those
half-and-half ones, that have neither learned to bless nor to curse from
Rather will I sit in a tub under a closed heaven, rather will I sit in
the abyss without heaven, than see thee, thou luminous heaven, tainted
with passing clouds!
And oft have I longed to pin them fast with the jagged gold-wires of
lightning, that I might, like the thunder, beat the drum upon their
–An angry drummer, because they rob me of thy Yea and Amen!–thou
heaven above me, thou pure, thou luminous heaven! Thou abyss of
light!–because they rob thee of MY Yea and Amen.
For rather will I have noise and thunders and tempest-blasts, than this
discreet, doubting cat-repose; and also amongst men do I hate most
of all the soft-treaders, and half-and-half ones, and the doubting,
hesitating, passing clouds.
And “he who cannot bless shall LEARN to curse!”–this clear teaching
dropt unto me from the clear heaven; this star standeth in my heaven
even in dark nights.
I, however, am a blesser and a Yea-sayer, if thou be but around me, thou
pure, thou luminous heaven! Thou abyss of light!–into all abysses do I
then carry my beneficent Yea-saying.
A blesser have I become and a Yea-sayer: and therefore strove I long and
was a striver, that I might one day get my hands free for blessing.
This, however, is my blessing: to stand above everything as its own
heaven, its round roof, its azure bell and eternal security: and blessed
is he who thus blesseth!
For all things are baptized at the font of eternity, and beyond good and
evil; good and evil themselves, however, are but fugitive shadows and
damp afflictions and passing clouds.
Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I teach that “above
all things there standeth the heaven of chance, the heaven of innocence,
the heaven of hazard, the heaven of wantonness.”
“Of Hazard”–that is the oldest nobility in the world; that gave I back
to all things; I emancipated them from bondage under purpose.
This freedom and celestial serenity did I put like an azure bell above
all things, when I taught that over them and through them, no “eternal
This wantonness and folly did I put in place of that Will, when I taught
that “In everything there is one thing impossible–rationality!”
A LITTLE reason, to be sure, a germ of wisdom scattered from star to
star–this leaven is mixed in all things: for the sake of folly, wisdom
is mixed in all things!
A little wisdom is indeed possible; but this blessed security have I
found in all things, that they prefer–to DANCE on the feet of chance.
O heaven above me! thou pure, thou lofty heaven! This is now thy purity
unto me, that there is no eternal reason-spider and reason-cobweb:–
–That thou art to me a dancing-floor for divine chances, that thou art
to me a table of the Gods, for divine dice and dice-players!–
But thou blushest? Have I spoken unspeakable things? Have I abused, when
I meant to bless thee?
Or is it the shame of being two of us that maketh thee blush!–Dost thou
bid me go and be silent, because now–DAY cometh?
The world is deep:–and deeper than e’er the day could read. Not
everything may be uttered in presence of day. But day cometh: so let us
O heaven above me, thou modest one! thou glowing one! O thou, my
happiness before sunrise! The day cometh: so let us part!–
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XLIX. THE BEDWARFING VIRTUE.
When Zarathustra was again on the continent, he did not go straightway
to his mountains and his cave, but made many wanderings and
questionings, and ascertained this and that; so that he said of himself
jestingly: “Lo, a river that floweth back unto its source in many
windings!” For he wanted to learn what had taken place AMONG MEN during
the interval: whether they had become greater or smaller. And once, when
he saw a row of new houses, he marvelled, and said:
“What do these houses mean? Verily, no great soul put them up as its
Did perhaps a silly child take them out of its toy-box? Would that
another child put them again into the box!
And these rooms and chambers–can MEN go out and in there? They seem to
be made for silk dolls; or for dainty-eaters, who perhaps let others eat
And Zarathustra stood still and meditated. At last he said sorrowfully:
“There hath EVERYTHING become smaller!
Everywhere do I see lower doorways: he who is of MY type can still go
therethrough, but–he must stoop!
Oh, when shall I arrive again at my home, where I shall no longer have
to stoop–shall no longer have to stoop BEFORE THE SMALL ONES!”–And
Zarathustra sighed, and gazed into the distance.–
The same day, however, he gave his discourse on the bedwarfing virtue.
I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open: they do not forgive
me for not envying their virtues.
They bite at me, because I say unto them that for small people, small
virtues are necessary–and because it is hard for me to understand that
small people are NECESSARY!
Here am I still like a cock in a strange farm-yard, at which even the
hens peck: but on that account I am not unfriendly to the hens.
I am courteous towards them, as towards all small annoyances; to be
prickly towards what is small, seemeth to me wisdom for hedgehogs.
They all speak of me when they sit around their fire in the
evening–they speak of me, but no one thinketh–of me!
This is the new stillness which I have experienced: their noise around
me spreadeth a mantle over my thoughts.
They shout to one another: “What is this gloomy cloud about to do to us?
Let us see that it doth not bring a plague upon us!”
And recently did a woman seize upon her child that was coming unto
me: “Take the children away,” cried she, “such eyes scorch children’s
They cough when I speak: they think coughing an objection to strong
winds–they divine nothing of the boisterousness of my happiness!
“We have not yet time for Zarathustra”–so they object; but what matter
about a time that “hath no time” for Zarathustra?
And if they should altogether praise me, how could I go to sleep on
THEIR praise? A girdle of spines is their praise unto me: it scratcheth
me even when I take it off.
And this also did I learn among them: the praiser doeth as if he gave
back; in truth, however, he wanteth more to be given him!
Ask my foot if their lauding and luring strains please it! Verily,
to such measure and ticktack, it liketh neither to dance nor to stand
To small virtues would they fain lure and laud me; to the ticktack of
small happiness would they fain persuade my foot.
I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open; they have become
SMALLER, and ever become smaller:–THE REASON THEREOF IS THEIR DOCTRINE
OF HAPPINESS AND VIRTUE.
For they are moderate also in virtue,–because they want comfort. With
comfort, however, moderate virtue only is compatible.
To be sure, they also learn in their way to stride on and stride
forward: that, I call their HOBBLING.–Thereby they become a hindrance
to all who are in haste.
And many of them go forward, and look backwards thereby, with stiffened
necks: those do I like to run up against.
Foot and eye shall not lie, nor give the lie to each other. But there is
much lying among small people.<!–"