【P4C17】The Awakening


After the song of the wanderer and shadow, the cave became all at once full of noise and laughter: and since the assembled guests all spoke simultaneously, and even the ass, encouraged thereby, no longer remained silent, a little aversion and scorn for his visitors came over Zarathustra, although he rejoiced at their gladness. For it seemed to him a sign of convalescence. So he slipped out into the open air and spoke to his animals.

“Where has their distress now gone?” said he, and already did he himself feel relieved of his petty disgust- “with me, it seems that they have unlearned their cries of distress!

-Though, alas! not yet their crying.” And Zarathustra stopped his ears, for just then did the you-A of the ass mix strangely with the noisy jubilation of those higher men.

“They are merry,” he began again, “and who knows? perhaps at their host’s expense; and if they have learned of me to laugh, still it is not my laughter they have learned.

But what matter about that! They are old people: they recover in their own way, they laugh in their own way; my ears have already endured worse and have not become peevish.

This day is a victory: he already yields, he flees, the spirit of gravity, my old arch-enemy! How well this day is about to end, which began so badly and gloomily!

And it is about to end. Already comes the evening: over the sea rides it here, the good rider! How it bobs, the blessed one, the home-returning one, in its purple saddles!

The sky gazes brightly there, the world lies deep. Oh, all you strange ones who have come to me, it is already worth while to have lived with me!”

Thus spoke Zarathustra. And again came the cries and laughter of the higher men out of the cave: then began he anew:

“They bite at it, my bait takes, there departs also from them their enemy, the spirit of gravity. Now do they learn to laugh at themselves: do I hear rightly?

My virile food takes effect, my strong and savory sayings: and verily, I did not nourish them with flatulent vegetables! But with warrior-food, with conqueror-food: new desires did I awaken.

New hopes are in their arms and legs, their hearts expand. They find new words, soon will their spirits breathe wantonness.

Such food may sure enough not be proper for children, nor even for longing girls old and young. One persuades their bowels otherwise; I am not their physician and teacher.

The disgust departs from these higher men; well! that is my victory. In my domain they become assured; all stupid shame flees away; they empty themselves.

They empty their hearts, good times return to them, they keep holiday and ruminate,- they become thankful.

That do I take as the best sign: they become thankful. Not long will it be before they create festivals, and put up memorials to their old joys.

They are convalescents!” Thus spoke Zarathustra joyfully to his heart and gazed outward; his animals, however, pressed up to him, and honored his happiness and his silence.


All on a sudden however, Zarathustra’s ear was frightened: for the cave which had hitherto been full of noise and laughter, became all at once still as death;- his nose, however, smelt a sweet-scented vapor and incense-odour, as if from burning pine-cones.

“What happens? What are they about?” he asked himself, and stole up to the entrance, that he might be able unobserved to see his guests. But wonder upon wonder! what was he then obliged to behold with his own eyes!

“They have all of them become pious again, they pray, they are mad!”said he, and was astonished beyond measure. And forsooth! all these higher men, the two kings, the pope out of service, the evil magician, the voluntary beggar, the wanderer and shadow, the old soothsayer, the spiritually conscientious one, and the ugliest man- they all lay on their knees like children and credulous old women, and worshipped the ass. And just then began the ugliest man to gurgle and snort, as if something unutterable in him tried to find expression; when, however, he had actually found words, behold! it was a pious, strange litany in praise of the adored and censed ass. And the litany sounded thus:

Amen! And glory and honor and wisdom and thanks and praise and strength be to our God, from everlasting to everlasting!

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

He carried our burdens, he has taken upon him the form of a servant, he is patient of heart and never says No; and he who loves his God chastises him.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

He speaks not: except that he ever says Yes to the world which he created: thus does he extol his world. It is his artfulness that speaks not: thus is he rarely found wrong.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

Uncomely goes he through the world. Grey is the favorite color in which he wraps his virtue. Has he spirit, then does he conceal it; every one, however, believes in his long ears.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

What hidden wisdom it is to wear long ears, and only to say Yes and never No! has he not created the world in his own image, namely, as stupid as possible?

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

You go straight and crooked ways; it concerns you little what seems straight or crooked to us men. Beyond good and evil is your domain. It is your innocence not to know what innocence is.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

Lo! how you spurn none from you, neither beggars nor kings. You suffer little children to come to you, and when the bad boys decoy you, then say you simply, you-A.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.

You love she-asses and fresh figs, you are no food-despiser. A thistle tickles your heart when you chance to be hungry. There is the wisdom of a God therein.

-The ass, however, here brayed you-A.