And Zarathustra went thoughtfully on, further and lower down, through forests and past moory bottoms; as it happens, however, to every one who meditates upon hard matters, he trod thereby unawares upon a 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.
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 halfaloud, like one speaking only to himself: “Strange! Strange! How does this harmonize? Two kings do I see- and only one ass!”
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 reflectingverily! not upon himself and his shadow,- all at once he startled and shrank back: for he saw another shadow beside his own. And when he hastily looked around and stood up, behold, there stood the soothsayer beside him, the same whom he had once given to eat and drink at his table, the proclaimer of the great weariness, who taught: “All is alike, nothing is worth while, the world is without meaning, knowledge strangles.” But his face had changed since then; and when Zarathustra looked into his eyes, his heart was startled once more: so much evil announcement and ashy-grey lightnings passed over that countenance.
-and again passed moons and years over Zarathustra’s soul, and he heeded it not; his hair, however, became white. One day when he sat on a stone in front of his cave, and gazed calmly into the distance- one there gazes out on the sea, and away beyond sinuous abysses,- then went his animals thoughtfully round about him, and at last set themselves in front of him.
If I be a diviner and full of the divining spirit which wanders on high mountain-ridges, ‘twixt two seas,-
Wanders ‘twixt the past and the future as a heavy cloud- hostile to sultry plains, and to all that is weary and can neither die nor live:
“Into your eyes gazed I lately, O Life: gold saw I gleam in your nighteyes,- my heart stood still with delight:
-A golden bark saw I gleam on darkened waters, a sinking, drinking, reblinking, golden swing-bark!
At my dance-frantic foot, do you cast a glance, a laughing, questioning, melting, thrown glance:
O my soul, I have taught you to say “today” as “once on a time” and “formerly,” and to dance your measure over every Here and There and Yonder.
O my soul, I delivered you from all by-places, I brushed down from you dust and spiders and twilight.
One morning, not long after his return to his cave, Zarathustra sprang up from his couch like a madman, crying with a frightful voice, and acting as if some one still lay on the couch who did not wish to rise. Zarathustra’s voice also resounded in such a manner that his animals came to him frightened, and out of all the neighboring caves and lurking-places all the creatures slipped away- flying, fluttering, creeping or leaping, according to their variety of foot or wing. Zarathustra, however, spoke these words:
Here do I sit and wait, old broken law-tablets around me and also new half-written law-tablets. When comes my hour?
-The hour of my descent, of my down-going: for once more will I go to men.
For that hour do I now wait: for first must the signs come to me that it is my hour- namely, the laughing lion with the flock of doves.
MY MOUTHPIECE- is of the people: too coarsely and cordially do I talk for Angora rabbits. And still stranger sounds my word to all ink-fish and pen-foxes.
My hand- is a fool’s hand: woe to all tables and walls, and whatever has room for fool’s sketching, fool’s scrawling!