FOURTH AND LAST PART.
63. LXIII. TALK WITH THE KINGS.
Ere Zarathustra had been an hour on his way in the mountains and forests,
he saw all at once a strange procession. Right on the path which he was
about to descend came two kings walking, bedecked with crowns and purple
girdles, and variegated like flamingoes: they drove before them a laden
ass. "What do these kings want in my domain?" said Zarathustra in
astonishment to his heart, and hid himself hastily behind a thicket. When
however the kings approached to him, he said half-aloud, like one speaking
only to himself: "Strange! Strange! How doth this harmonise? Two kings
do I see--and only one ass!"
Thereupon the two kings made a halt; they smiled and looked towards the
spot whence the voice proceeded, and afterwards looked into each other's
faces. "Such things do we also think among ourselves," said the king on
the right, "but we do not utter them."
The king on the left, however, shrugged his shoulders and answered: "That
may perhaps be a goat-herd. Or an anchorite who hath lived too long among
rocks and trees. For no society at all spoileth also good manners."
"Good manners?" replied angrily and bitterly the other king: "what then do
we run out of the way of? Is it not 'good manners'? Our 'good society'?
Better, verily, to live among anchorites and goat-herds, than with our
gilded, false, over-rouged populace--though it call itself 'good society.'
--Though it call itself 'nobility.' But there all is false and foul, above
all the blood--thanks to old evil diseases and worse curers.
The best and dearest to me at present is still a sound peasant, coarse,
artful, obstinate and enduring: that is at present the noblest type.
The peasant is at present the best; and the peasant type should be master!
But it is the kingdom of the populace--I no longer allow anything to be
imposed upon me. The populace, however--that meaneth, hodgepodge.
Populace-hodgepodge: therein is everything mixed with everything, saint
and swindler, gentleman and Jew, and every beast out of Noah's ark.