Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra


The next day sat Zarathustra again on the stone in front of his cave, whilst his animals roved about in the world outside to bring home new food,--also new honey: for Zarathustra had spent and wasted the old honey to the very last particle. When he thus sat, however, with a stick in his hand, tracing the shadow of his figure on the earth, and reflecting-- verily! not upon himself and his shadow,--all at once he startled and shrank back: for he saw another shadow beside his own. And when he hastily looked around and stood up, behold, there stood the soothsayer beside him, the same whom he had once given to eat and drink at his table, the proclaimer of the great weariness, who taught: "All is alike, nothing is worth while, the world is without meaning, knowledge strangleth." But his face had changed since then; and when Zarathustra looked into his eyes, his heart was startled once more: so much evil announcement and ashy-grey lightnings passed over that countenance.

The soothsayer, who had perceived what went on in Zarathustra's soul, wiped his face with his hand, as if he would wipe out the impression; the same did also Zarathustra. And when both of them had thus silently composed and strengthened themselves, they gave each other the hand, as a token that they wanted once more to recognise each other.

"Welcome hither," said Zarathustra, "thou soothsayer of the great weariness, not in vain shalt thou once have been my messmate and guest. Eat and drink also with me to-day, and forgive it that a cheerful old man sitteth with thee at table!"--"A cheerful old man?" answered the soothsayer, shaking his head, "but whoever thou art, or wouldst be, O Zarathustra, thou hast been here aloft the longest time,--in a little while thy bark shall no longer rest on dry land!"--"Do I then rest on dry land?" --asked Zarathustra, laughing.--"The waves around thy mountain," answered the soothsayer, "rise and rise, the waves of great distress and affliction: they will soon raise thy bark also and carry thee away."--Thereupon was Zarathustra silent and wondered.--"Dost thou still hear nothing?" continued the soothsayer: "doth it not rush and roar out of the depth?"--Zarathustra was silent once more and listened: then heard he a long, long cry, which the abysses threw to one another and passed on; for none of them wished to retain it: so evil did it sound.

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