Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra


Scarcely however was the voluntary beggar gone in haste, and Zarathustra again alone, when he heard behind him a new voice which called out: "Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, forsooth, O Zarathustra, myself, thy shadow!" But Zarathustra did not wait; for a sudden irritation came over him on account of the crowd and the crowding in his mountains. "Whither hath my lonesomeness gone?" spake he.

"It is verily becoming too much for me; these mountains swarm; my kingdom is no longer of THIS world; I require new mountains.

My shadow calleth me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run after me! I--run away from it."

Thus spake Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind followed after him, so that immediately there were three runners, one after the other--namely, foremost the voluntary beggar, then Zarathustra, and thirdly, and hindmost, his shadow. But not long had they run thus when Zarathustra became conscious of his folly, and shook off with one jerk all his irritation and detestation.

"What!" said he, "have not the most ludicrous things always happened to us old anchorites and saints?

Verily, my folly hath grown big in the mountains! Now do I hear six old fools' legs rattling behind one another!

But doth Zarathustra need to be frightened by his shadow? Also, methinketh that after all it hath longer legs thin mine."

Thus spake Zarathustra, and, laughing with eyes and entrails, he stood still and turned round quickly--and behold, he almost thereby threw his shadow and follower to the ground, so closely had the latter followed at his heels, and so weak was he. For when Zarathustra scrutinised him with his glance he was frightened as by a sudden apparition, so slender, swarthy, hollow and worn-out did this follower appear.

"Who art thou?" asked Zarathustra vehemently, "what doest thou here? And why callest thou thyself my shadow? Thou art not pleasing unto me."

"Forgive me," answered the shadow, "that it is I; and if I please thee not --well, O Zarathustra! therein do I admire thee and thy good taste.

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