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【P4C2】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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The higher man?” cried Zarathustra, horror-stricken: “what wants he? What wants he? The higher man! What wants he here?”- and his skin covered with perspiration.

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

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

But although you should dance before me, and leap all your sideleaps, no one may say to me: ‘Behold, here dances 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 buriedalive and solitary ones! Must I yet seek the last happiness on the Blessed isles, and far away among forgotten seas?

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

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

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

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

But as regards the higher 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, you are a rogue!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus spoke Zarathustra.