49. XLIX. THE BEDWARFING VIRTUE. (continued)
I am courteous towards them, as towards all small annoyances; to be prickly
towards what is small, seemeth to me wisdom for hedgehogs.
They all speak of me when they sit around their fire in the evening--they
speak of me, but no one thinketh--of me!
This is the new stillness which I have experienced: their noise around me
spreadeth a mantle over my thoughts.
They shout to one another: "What is this gloomy cloud about to do to us?
Let us see that it doth not bring a plague upon us!"
And recently did a woman seize upon her child that was coming unto me:
"Take the children away," cried she, "such eyes scorch children's souls."
They cough when I speak: they think coughing an objection to strong winds
--they divine nothing of the boisterousness of my happiness!
"We have not yet time for Zarathustra"--so they object; but what matter
about a time that "hath no time" for Zarathustra?
And if they should altogether praise me, how could I go to sleep on THEIR
praise? A girdle of spines is their praise unto me: it scratcheth me even
when I take it off.
And this also did I learn among them: the praiser doeth as if he gave
back; in truth, however, he wanteth more to be given him!
Ask my foot if their lauding and luring strains please it! Verily, to such
measure and ticktack, it liketh neither to dance nor to stand still.
To small virtues would they fain lure and laud me; to the ticktack of small
happiness would they fain persuade my foot.
I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open; they have become
SMALLER, and ever become smaller:--THE REASON THEREOF IS THEIR DOCTRINE OF
HAPPINESS AND VIRTUE.
For they are moderate also in virtue,--because they want comfort. With
comfort, however, moderate virtue only is compatible.