41. XLI. THE SOOTHSAYER. (continued)
And this is the discourse that Zarathustra spake when he awoke; his voice,
however, came unto his disciples as from afar:
Hear, I pray you, the dream that I dreamed, my friends, and help me to
divine its meaning!
A riddle is it still unto me, this dream; the meaning is hidden in it and
encaged, and doth not yet fly above it on free pinions.
All life had I renounced, so I dreamed. Night-watchman and grave-guardian
had I become, aloft, in the lone mountain-fortress of Death.
There did I guard his coffins: full stood the musty vaults of those
trophies of victory. Out of glass coffins did vanquished life gaze upon
The odour of dust-covered eternities did I breathe: sultry and dust-covered
lay my soul. And who could have aired his soul there!
Brightness of midnight was ever around me; lonesomeness cowered beside her;
and as a third, death-rattle stillness, the worst of my female friends.
Keys did I carry, the rustiest of all keys; and I knew how to open with
them the most creaking of all gates.
Like a bitterly angry croaking ran the sound through the long corridors
when the leaves of the gate opened: ungraciously did this bird cry,
unwillingly was it awakened.
But more frightful even, and more heart-strangling was it, when it again
became silent and still all around, and I alone sat in that malignant
Thus did time pass with me, and slip by, if time there still was: what do
I know thereof! But at last there happened that which awoke me.
Thrice did there peal peals at the gate like thunders, thrice did the
vaults resound and howl again: then did I go to the gate.
Alpa! cried I, who carrieth his ashes unto the mountain? Alpa! Alpa! who
carrieth his ashes unto the mountain?