Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra


There is an isle in the sea--not far from the Happy Isles of Zarathustra-- on which a volcano ever smoketh; of which isle the people, and especially the old women amongst them, say that it is placed as a rock before the gate of the nether-world; but that through the volcano itself the narrow way leadeth downwards which conducteth to this gate.

Now about the time that Zarathustra sojourned on the Happy Isles, it happened that a ship anchored at the isle on which standeth the smoking mountain, and the crew went ashore to shoot rabbits. About the noontide hour, however, when the captain and his men were together again, they saw suddenly a man coming towards them through the air, and a voice said distinctly: "It is time! It is the highest time!" But when the figure was nearest to them (it flew past quickly, however, like a shadow, in the direction of the volcano), then did they recognise with the greatest surprise that it was Zarathustra; for they had all seen him before except the captain himself, and they loved him as the people love: in such wise that love and awe were combined in equal degree.

"Behold!" said the old helmsman, "there goeth Zarathustra to hell!"

About the same time that these sailors landed on the fire-isle, there was a rumour that Zarathustra had disappeared; and when his friends were asked about it, they said that he had gone on board a ship by night, without saying whither he was going.

Thus there arose some uneasiness. After three days, however, there came the story of the ship's crew in addition to this uneasiness--and then did all the people say that the devil had taken Zarathustra. His disciples laughed, sure enough, at this talk; and one of them said even: "Sooner would I believe that Zarathustra hath taken the devil." But at the bottom of their hearts they were all full of anxiety and longing: so their joy was great when on the fifth day Zarathustra appeared amongst them.

And this is the account of Zarathustra's interview with the fire-dog:

The earth, said he, hath a skin; and this skin hath diseases. One of these diseases, for example, is called "man."

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