0%

【P4C9】The Shadow

Scarcely however was the voluntary beggar gone in haste, and Zarathustra again alone, when he heard behind him a new voice which called out: “Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, O Zarathustra, myself, your shadow!” But Zarathustra did not wait; for a sudden irritation came over him on account of the crowd and the crowding in his mountains. “Where has my lonesomeness gone?” spoke he.

“It is verily becoming too much for me; these mountains swarm; my kingdom is no longer of this world; I require new mountains.

My shadow calls me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run after me! I- run away from it.”

Thus spoke Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind followed after him, so that immediately there were three runners, one after the other- namely, foremost the voluntary beggar, then Zarathustra, and thirdly, and hindmost, his shadow. But not long had they run thus when Zarathustra became conscious of his folly, and shook off with one jerk all his irritation and detestation.

“What!” said he, “have not the most ludicrous things always happened to us old hermits and saints?

My folly has grown big in the mountains! Now do I hear six old fools’ legs rattling behind one another!

But does Zarathustra need to be frightened by his shadow? Also, methinks that after all it has longer legs thin mine.”

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and, laughing with eyes and entrails, he stood still and turned round quickly- and behold, he almost thereby threw his shadow and follower to the ground, so closely had the latter followed at his heels, and so weak was he. For when Zarathustra scrutinized him with his glance he was frightened as by a sudden apparition, so slender, swarthy, hollow and worn-out did this follower appear.

281 “Who are you?” asked Zarathustra vehemently, “what do you here? And why call you yourself my shadow? you are not pleasing to me.”

“Forgive me,” answered the shadow, “that it is I; and if I please you not- well, O Zarathustra! therein do I admire you and your good taste.

A wanderer am I, who have walked long at your heels; always on the way, but without a goal, also without a home: so that verily, I lack little of being the eternally Wandering Jew, except that I am not eternal and not a Jew.

What? Must I ever be on the way? Whirled by every wind, unsettled, driven about? O earth, you have become too round for me!

On every surface have I already sat, like tired dust have I fallen asleep on mirrors and window-panes: everything takes from me, nothing gives; I become thin- I am almost equal to a shadow.

After you, however, O Zarathustra, did I fly and hie longest; and though I hid myself from you, I was nevertheless your best shadow: wherever you have sat, there sat I also.

With you have I wandered about in the remotest, coldest worlds, like a phantom that voluntarily haunts winter roofs and snows.

With you have I pushed into all the forbidden, all the worst and the furthest: and if there be anything of virtue in me, it is that I have had no fear of any prohibition.

With you have I broken up whatever my heart revered; all boundarystones and statues have I o’erthrown; the most dangerous wishes did I pursue,- verily, beyond every crime did I once go.

With you did I unlearn the belief in words and worths and in great names. When the devil casts his skin, does not his name also fall away? It is also skin. The devil himself is perhaps- skin.

‘Nothing is true, all is permitted’: so said I to myself. Into the coldest water did I plunge with head and heart. Ah, how oft did I stand there naked on that account, like a red crab!

Ah, where have gone all my goodness and all my shame and all my belief in the good! Ah, where is the lying innocence which I once possessed, the innocence of the good and of their noble lies!

Too oft, verily, did I follow close to the heels of truth: then did it kick me on the face. Sometimes I meant to lie, and behold! then only did I hitthe truth.

282 Too much has become clear to me: now it does not concern me any more. Nothing lives any longer that I love,- how should I still love myself?

‘To live as I incline, or not to live at all’: so do I wish; so wishes also the holiest. But alas! how have I still- inclination?

Have I- still a goal? A haven towards which my sail is set?

A good wind? Ah, he only who knows where he sails, knows what wind is good, and a fair wind for him.

What still remains to me? A heart weary and flippant; an unstable will; fluttering wings; a broken backbone.

This seeking for my home: O Zarathustra, do you know that this seeking has been my home-sickening; it eats me up.

‘Where is- my home?’ For it do I ask and seek, and have sought, but have not found it. O eternal everywhere, O eternal nowhere, O eternalin-vain!”

Thus spoke the shadow, and Zarathustra’s countenance lengthened at his words. “You are my shadow!” said he at last sadly.

“Your danger is not small, you free spirit and wanderer! you have had a bad day: see that a still worse evening does not overtake you!

To such unsettled ones as you, seems at last even a prisoner blessed. Did you ever see how captured criminals sleep? They sleep quietly, they enjoy their new security.

Beware lest in the end a narrow faith capture you, a hard, rigorous delusion! For now everything that is narrow and fixed seduces and tempts you.

You have lost your goal. Alas, how will you forego and forget that loss? Thereby- have you also lost your way!

You poor rover and rambler, you tired butterfly! will you have a rest and a home this evening? Then go up to my cave!

There leads the way to my cave. And now will I run quickly away from you again. Already lies as it were a shadow upon me.

I will run alone, so that it may again become bright around me. Therefore must I still be a long time merrily upon my legs. In the evening, however, there will be- dancing with me!”- -

Thus spoke Zarathustra.