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【P4C7】The Ugliest Man

-And again did Zarathustra’s feet run through mountains and forests, and his eyes sought and sought, but nowhere was he to be seen whom they wanted to see- the sorely distressed sufferer and crier. On the whole way, however, he rejoiced in his heart and was full of gratitude. “What good things,” said he, “has this day given me, as amends for its bad beginning! What strange interlocutors have I found!

At their words will I now chew a long while as at good corn; small shall my teeth grind and crush them, until they flow like milk into my soul!”-

When, however, the path again curved round a rock, all at once the landscape changed, and Zarathustra entered into a realm of death. Here bristled aloft black and red cliffs, without any grass, tree, or bird’s voice. For it was a valley which all animals avoided, even the beasts of prey, except that a species of ugly, thick, green serpent came here to die when they became old. Therefore the shepherds called this valley: “Serpentdeath.”

Zarathustra, however, became absorbed in dark recollections, for it seemed to him as if he had once before stood in this valley. And much heaviness settled on his mind, so that he walked slowly and always more slowly, and at last stood still. Then, however, when he opened his eyes, he saw something sitting by the wayside shaped like a man, and hardly like a man, something nondescript. And all at once there came over Zarathustra a great shame, because he had gazed on such a thing. Blushing up to the very roots of his white hair, he turned aside his glance, and raised his foot that he might leave this ill-starred place. Then, however, became the dead wilderness vocal: for from the ground a noise welled up, gurgling and rattling, as water gurgles and rattles at night through stopped-up water-pipes; and at last it turned into human voice and human speech:- it sounded thus:

“Zarathustra! Zarathustra! Read my riddle! Say, say! What is the revenge on the witness?

I entice you back; here is smooth ice! See to it, see to it, that your pride does not here break its legs!

You think yourself wise, you proud Zarathustra! Read then the riddle, you hard nut-cracker,- the riddle that I am! Say then: who am I!”

-When however Zarathustra had heard these words,- what think you then took place in his soul? Pity overcame him; and he sank down all at once, like an oak that has long withstood many tree-fellers,- heavily, suddenly, to the terror even of those who meant to fell it. But immediately he got up again from the ground, and his countenance became stern.

“I know you well,” said he, with a brazen voice, “you are the murderer of God! Let me go.

You could not endure him who beheld you,- who ever beheld you through and through, you ugliest man. You took revenge on this witness!”

Thus spoke Zarathustra and was about to go; but the nondescript grasped at a corner of his garment and began anew to gurgle and seek for words. “Stay,” said he at last-

-“Stay! Do not pass by! I have divined what axe it was that struck you to the ground: hail to you, O Zarathustra, that you are again upon your feet!

You have divined, I know it well, how the man feels who killed him,the murderer of God. Stay! Sit down here beside me; it is not to no purpose.

To whom would I go but to you? Stay, sit down! Do not however look at me! Honor thus- my ugliness!

They persecute me: now are you my last refuge. Not with their hatred, not with their bailiffs;- Oh, such persecution would I mock at, and be proud and cheerful!

Has not all success hitherto been with the well-persecuted ones? And he who persecutes well learns readily to be obsequent- when once he isput behind! But it is their pity-

-Their pity is it from which I flee away and flee to you. O Zarathustra, protect me, you, my last refuge, you sole one who divined me:

-You have divined how the man feels who killed him. Stay! And if you will go, you impatient one, go not the way that I came. That way is bad.

Are you angry with me because I have already racked language too long? Because I have already counselled you? But know that it is I, the ugliest man,

-Who have also the largest, heaviest feet. Where I have gone, the way is bad. I tread all paths to death and destruction.

But that you passed me by in silence, that you blushed- I saw it well: thereby did I know you as Zarathustra.

Every one else would have thrown to me his alms, his pity, in look and speech. But for that- I am not beggar enough: that did you divine.

For that I am too rich, rich in what is great, frightful, ugliest, most unutterable! your shame, O Zarathustra, honored me!

With difficulty did I get out of the crowd of the pitiful,- that I might find the only one who at present teaches that ‘pity is obtrusive’- yourself, O Zarathustra!

-Whether it be the pity of a God, or whether it be human pity, it is offensive to modesty. And unwillingness to help may be nobler than the virtue that rushes to do so.

That however- namely, pity- is called virtue itself at present by all petty people:- they have no reverence for great misfortune, great ugliness, great failure.

Beyond all these do I look, as a dog looks over the backs of thronging flocks of sheep. They are petty, good-wooled, good-willed, grey people.

As the heron looks contemptuously at shallow pools, with backwardbent head, so do I look at the throng of grey little waves and wills and souls.

Too long have we acknowledged them to be right, those petty people: so we have at last given them power as well;- and now do they teach that ‘good is only what petty people call good.’

And ‘truth’ is at present what the preacher spoke who himself sprang from them, that singular saint and advocate of the petty people, who testified of himself: ‘I- am the truth.’

That shameless one has long made the petty people greatly puffed up,he who taught no small error when he taught: ‘I- am the truth.’

Has a shameless one ever been answered more courteously?- You, however, O Zarathustra, passed him by, and said: ‘No! No! Three times No!’

You warned against his error; you warned- the first to do so- against pity:- not every one, not none, but yourself and your type.

You are ashamed of the shame of the great sufferer; and verily when you say: ‘From pity there comes a heavy cloud; take heed, you men!’

-When you teach: ‘All creators are hard, all great love is beyond their pity:’ O Zarathustra, how well versed do you seem to me in weathersigns!

You yourself, however,- warn yourself also against your pity! For many are on their way to you, many suffering, doubting, despairing, drowning, freezing ones-

I warn you also against myself. You have read my best, my worst riddle, myself, and what I have done. I know the axe that fells you.

But he- had to die: he looked with eyes which beheld everything,- he beheld men’s depths and dregs, all his hidden ignominy and ugliness.

His pity knew no modesty: he crept into my dirtiest corners. This most prying, over-intrusive, over-pitiful one had to die.

He ever beheld me: on such a witness I would have revenge- or not live myself.

The God who beheld everything, and also man: that God had to die! Man cannot endure it that such a witness should live.”

Thus spoke the ugliest man. Zarathustra however got up, and prepared to go on: for he felt frozen to the very bowels.

“You nondescript,” said he, “you warned me against your path. As thanks for it I praise my to you. Behold, up there is the cave of Zarathustra.

My cave is large and deep and has many corners; there finds he that is most hidden his hiding-place. And close beside it, there are a hundred lurking-places and by-places for creeping, fluttering, and hopping creatures.

You outcast, who have cast yourself out, you will not live amongst men and men’s pity? Well then, do like me! Thus will you learn also from me; only the doer learns.

And talk first and foremost to my animals! The proudest animal and the wisest animal- they might well be the right counsellors for us both!”-

Thus spoke Zarathustra and went his way, more thoughtfully and slowly even than before: for he asked himself many things, and hardly knew what to answer.

“How poor indeed is man,” thought he in his heart, “how ugly, how wheezy, how full of hidden shame!

They tell me that man loves himself. Ah, how great must that self-love be! How much contempt is opposed to it!

Even this man has loved himself, as he has despised himself,- a great lover methinks he is, and a great despiser.

No one have I yet found who more thoroughly despised himself: even that is elevation. Alas, was this perhaps the higher man whose cry I heard?

I love the great despisers. Man is something that has to be overcome.”