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【P4C18】The Ass Festival

1.

At this place in the litany, however, Zarathustra could no longer control himself; he himself cried out you-A, louder even than the ass, and sprang into the midst of his maddened guests. “Whatever are you about, you grown-up children?” he exclaimed, pulling up the praying ones from the ground. “Alas, if any one else, except Zarathustra, had seen you:

Every one would think you the worst blasphemers, or the very most foolish old women, with your new belief!

And you yourself, you old pope, how is it in accordance with you, to adore an ass in such a manner as God?”-

“O Zarathustra,” answered the pope, “forgive me, but in divine matters I am more enlightened even than you. And it is right that it should be so.

Better to adore God so, in this form, than in no form at all! Think over this saying, my exalted friend: you will readily divine that in such a saying there is wisdom.

He who said ‘God is a Spirit’- made the greatest stride and slide hitherto made on earth towards unbelief: such a dictum is not easily amended again on earth!

My old heart leaps and bounds because there is still something to adore on earth. Forgive it, O Zarathustra, to an old, pious pontiff-heart!-“

-“And you,” said Zarathustra to the wanderer and shadow, “you call and think yourself a free spirit? And you here practice such idolatry and hierolatry?

Worse verily, do you here than with your bad brown girls, you bad, new believer!”

“It is sad enough,” answered the wanderer and shadow, “you are right: but how can I help it! The old God lives again, O Zarathustra, you mayst say what you wilt.

The ugliest man is to blame for it all: he has reawakened him. And if he say that he once killed him, with Gods death is always just a prejudice.”

-“And you,” said Zarathustra, “you bad old magician, what did you do! Who ought to believe any longer in you in this free age, when you believe in such divine donkeyism?

It was a stupid thing that you didst; how could you, a shrewd man, do such a stupid thing!”

“O Zarathustra,” answered the shrewd magician, “you are right, it was a stupid thing,- it was also repugnant to me.”

-“And you even,” said Zarathustra to the spiritually conscientious one, “consider, and put your finger to your nose! does nothing go against your conscience here? Is your spirit not too cleanly for this praying and the fumes of those devotees?”

“There is something therein,” said the spiritually conscientious one, and put his finger to his nose, “there is something in this spectacle which even does good to my conscience.

Perhaps I dare not believe in God: certain it is however, that God seems to me most worthy of belief in this form.

God is said to be eternal, according to the testimony of the most pious: he who has so much time takes his time. As slow and as stupid as possible: thereby can such a one nevertheless go very far.

And he who has too much spirit might well become infatuated with stupidity and folly. Think of yourself, O Zarathustra!

You yourself- verily! even you could well become an ass through superabundance of wisdom.

Do not the true sage willingly walk on the crookedest paths? The evidence teaches it, O Zarathustra,- your own evidence!”

-“And you yourself, finally,” said Zarathustra, and turned towards the ugliest man, who still lay on the ground stretching up his arm to the ass (for he gave it wine to drink). “Say, you nondescript, what have you been about!

You seem to me transformed, your eyes glow, the mantle of the sublime covers your ugliness: what did you do?

Is it then true what they say, that you have again awakened him? And why? Was he not for good reasons killed and made away with?

You yourself seem to me awakened: what did you do? why did you turn round? Why did you get converted? Speak, you nondescript!”

“O Zarathustra,” answered the ugliest man, “you are a rogue!

Whether he yet lives, or again lives, or is thoroughly dead- which of us both knows that best? I ask you.

One thing however do I know,- from yourself did I learn it once, O Zarathustra: he who wants to kill most thoroughly, laughs.

‘Not by wrath but by laughter does one kill’- thus spoke you once, O Zarathustra, you hidden one, you destroyer without wrath, you dangerous saint,- you are a rogue!”

2.

Then, however, did it come to pass that Zarathustra, astonished at such merely roguish answers, jumped back to the door of his cave, and turning towards all his guests, cried out with a strong voice:

“O you wags, all of you, you fools! Why do you dissemble and disguise yourselves before me!

How the hearts of all of you convulsed with delight and wickedness, because you had at last become again like little children- namely, pious,-

-Because you at last did again as children do- namely, prayed, folded your hands and said ‘good God’!

But now leave, I pray you, this nursery, my own cave, where today all childishness is carried on. Cool down, here outside, your hot child-wantonness and heart-tumult!

To be sure: except you become as little children you shall not enter into that kingdom of heaven.” (And Zarathustra pointed aloft with his hands.)

“But we do not at all want to enter into the kingdom of heaven: we have become men,- so we want the kingdom of earth.”

3.

And once more began Zarathustra to speak. “O my new friends,” said he,- “you strange ones, you higher men, how well do you now please me,-

-Since you have again become joyful! You have, verily, all blossomed forth: it seems to me that for such flowers as you, new festivals are required.

-A little valiant nonsense, some divine service and ass-festival, some old joyful Zarathustra fool, some blusterer to blow your souls bright.

Forget not this night and this ass-festival, you higher men! That did you create when with me, that do I take as a good omen,- such things only the convalescents create!

And should you celebrate it again, this ass-festival, do it from love to yourselves, do it also from love to me! And in remembrance of me!”

Thus spoke Zarathustra.