【P3C13】The Convalescent


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:

Up, abysmal thought out of my depth! I am your cock and morning dawn, you overslept reptile: Up! Up! My voice shall soon crow you awake!

Unbind the fetters of your ears: listen! For I wish to hear you! Up! Up! There is thunder enough to make the very graves listen!

And rub the sleep and all the dimness and blindness out of your eyes! Hear me also with your eyes: my voice is a medicine even for those born blind.

And once you are awake, then shall you ever remain awake. It is not my custom to awake great-grandmothers out of their sleep that I may bid them- sleep on!

You stir, stretch yourself, wheeze? Up! Up! Not wheeze, shall you,- but speak to me! Zarathustra calls you, Zarathustra the godless!

I, Zarathustra, the advocate of living, the advocate of suffering, the advocate of the circuit- you do I call, my most abysmal thought!

Joy to me! you come,- I hear you! My abyss speaks, my lowest depth have I turned over into the light!

Joy to me! Come here! Give me your hand- - ha! let be! aha!- - Disgust, disgust, disgust- - - alas to me!


Hardly, however, had Zarathustra spoken these words, when he fell down as one dead, and remained long as one dead. When however he again came to himself, then was he pale and trembling, and remained lying; and for long he would neither eat nor drink. This condition continued for seven days; his animals, however, did not leave him day nor night, except that the eagle flew forth to fetch food. And what it fetched and foraged, it laid on Zarathustra’s couch: so that Zarathustra at last lay among yellow and red berries, grapes, rosy apples, sweet-smelling herbage, and pine-cones. At his feet, however, two lambs were stretched, which the eagle had with difficulty carried off from their shepherds.

At last, after seven days, Zarathustra raised himself upon his couch, took a rosy apple in his hand, smelt it and found its smell pleasant. Then did his animals think the time had come to speak to him.

“O Zarathustra,” said they, “now have you lain thus for seven days with heavy eyes: will you not set yourself again upon your feet?

Step out of your cave: the world waits for you as a garden. The wind plays with heavy fragrance which seeks for you; and all brooks would like to run after you.

All things long for you, since you have remained alone for seven daysstep forth out of your cave! All things want to be your physicians!

Did perhaps a new knowledge come to you, a bitter, grievous knowledge? Like leavened dough lay you, your soul arose and swelled beyond all its bounds.-“

-O my animals, answered Zarathustra, talk on thus and let me listen! It refreshes me so to hear your talk: where there is talk, there is the world as a garden to me.

How charming it is that there are words and tones; are not words and tones rainbows and seeming bridges ‘twixt the eternally separated?

To each soul belongs another world; to each soul is every other soul a back-world.

Among the most alike does semblance deceive most delightfully: for the small gap is most difficult to bridge over.

For me- how could there be an outside-of-me? There is no outside! But this we forget on hearing tones; how delightful it is that we forget!

Have not names and tones been given to things that man may refresh himself with them? It is a beautiful folly, speaking; therewith dances man over everything.

How lovely is all speech and all falsehoods of tones! With tones dances our love on variegated rainbows.-

-“O Zarathustra,” said then his animals, “to those who think like us, things all dance themselves: they come and hold out the hand and laugh and flee- and return.

Everything goes, everything returns; eternally rolls the wheel of existence. Everything dies, everything blossoms forth again; eternally runs on the year of existence.

Everything breaks, everything is integrated anew; eternally builds itself the same house of existence. All things separate, all things again greet one another; eternally true to itself remains the ring of existence.

Every moment begins existence, around every ‘Here’ rolls the ball ‘There.’ The middle is everywhere. Crooked is the path of eternity.”-

-O you wags and barrel-organs! answered Zarathustra, and smiled once more, how well do you know what had to be fulfilled in seven days:-

-And how that monster crept into my throat and choked me! But I bit off its head and spat it away from me.

And you- you have made a lyre-lay out of it? Now, however, do I lie here, still exhausted with that biting and spitting-away, still sick with my own salvation.

And you looked on at it all? O my animals, are you also cruel? Did you like to look at my great pain as men do? For man is the cruel animal.

At tragedies, bull-fights, and crucifixions has he hitherto been happiest on earth; and when he invented his hell, behold, that was his heaven on earth.

When the great man cries-: immediately runs the little man there, and his tongue hangs out of his mouth for very lusting. Yet he calls it his “pity.”

The little man, especially the poet- how passionately does he accuse life in words! Hearken to him, but do not fail to hear the delight which is in all accusation!

Such accusers of life- them life overcomes with a glance of the eye. “You love me?” says the insolent one; “wait a little, as yet have I no time for you.”

Towards himself man is the cruel animal; and in all who call themselves “sinners” and “bearers of the cross” and “penitents,” do not overlook the voluptuousness in their plaints and accusations!

And I myself- do, I thereby want to be man’s accuser? Ah, my animals, this only have I learned hitherto, that for man his evil is necessary for his best,-

-That all that is evil is the best power, and the hardest stone for the highest creator; and that man must become better and more evil:-

Not to this torture-stake was I tied, that I know man is bad,- but I cried, as no one has yet cried:

“Ah, that his evil is so very small! Ah, that his best is so very small!”

The great disgust at man- it strangled me and had crept into my throat: and what the soothsayer had presaged: “All is alike, nothing is worth while, knowledge strangles.”

A long twilight limped on before me, a fatally weary, fatally intoxicated sadness, which spoke with yawning mouth.

“Eternally he returns, the man of whom you are weary, the small man”- so yawned my sadness, and dragged its foot and could not go to sleep.

A cavern, became the human earth to me; its breast caved in; everything living became to me human dust and bones and mouldering past.

My sighing sat on all human graves, and could no longer arise: my sighing and questioning croaked and choked, and gnawed and nagged day and night:

-“Ah, man returns eternally! The small man returns eternally!”

Naked had I once seen both of them, the greatest man and the small man: all too like one another- all too human, even the greatest man!

All too small, even the greatest man!- that was my disgust at man! And the eternal return also of the small man!- that was my disgust at all existence!

Ah, Disgust! Disgust! Disgust!- - Thus spoke Zarathustra, and sighed and shuddered; for he remembered his sickness. Then did his animals prevent him from speaking further.

“Do not speak further, you convalescent!”- so answered his animals, “but go out where the world waits for you like a garden.

Go out to the roses, the bees, and the flocks of doves! Especially, however, to the singing-birds, to learn singing from them!

For singing is for the convalescent; the sound ones may talk. And when the sound also want songs, then want they other songs than the convalescent.”

-“O you wags and barrel-organs, do be silent!” answered Zarathustra, and smiled at his animals. “How well you know what consolation I created for myself in seven days!

That I have to sing once more- that consolation did I create for myself, and this convalescence: would you also make another lyre-lay thereof?”

-“Do not talk further,” answered his animals once more; “rather, you convalescent, prepare for yourself first a lyre, a new lyre!

For behold, O Zarathustra! For your new lays there are needed new lyres.

Sing and bubble over, O Zarathustra, heal your soul with new lays: that you may bear your great fate, which has not yet been any one’s fate!

For your animals know it well, O Zarathustra, who you are and must become: behold, you are the teacher of the eternal return,- that is now your fate!

That you must be the first to teach this teaching- how could this great fate not be your greatest danger and infirmity!

Behold, we know what you teach: that all things eternally return, and ourselves with them, and that we have already existed times without number, and all things with us.

You teach that there is a great year of Becoming, a prodigy of a great year; it must, like a sand-glass, ever turn up anew, that it may anew run down and run out:-

-So that all those years are like one another in the greatest and also in the small, so that we ourselves, in every great year, are like ourselves in the greatest and also in the small.

And if you would now die, O Zarathustra, behold, we know also how you would then speak to yourself:- but your animals beseech you not to die yet!

You would speak, and without trembling, buoyant rather with bliss, for a great weight and worry would be taken from you, you patientest one!-

‘Now do I die and disappear,’ would you say, ‘and in a moment I am nothing. Souls are as mortal as bodies.

But the plexus of causes returns in which I am intertwined,- it will again create me! I myself pertain to the causes of the eternal return.

I come again with this sun, with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent- not to a new life, or a better life, or a similar life:

-I come again eternally to this identical and selfsame life, in its greatest and its small, to teach again the eternal return of all things,-

-To speak again the word of the great noontide of earth and man, to announce again to man the Superman.

I have spoken my word. I break down by my word: so wills my eternal fate- as announcer do I perish!

The hour has now come for the down-goer to bless himself. Thus- ends Zarathustra’s down-going.’”- -

When the animals had spoken these words they were silent and waited, so that Zarathustra might say something to them; but Zarathustra did not hear that they were silent. On the contrary, he lay quietly with closed eyes like a person sleeping, although he did not sleep; for he communed just then with his soul. The serpent, however, and the eagle, when they found him silent in such wise, respected the great stillness around him, and prudently retired.