(1844 - 1900)
Thus Spake Zarathustra
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
AND Zarathustra went thoughtfully
on, further and lower down, through forests and past moory
bottoms; as it happeneth, however, to every one who meditateth
upon hard matters, he trod thereby unawares upon a man. And
lo, there spurted into his face all at once a cry of pain,
and two curses and twenty bad invectives, so that in his fright
he raised his stick and also struck the trodden one. Immediately
afterwards, however, he regained his composure, and his heart
laughed at the folly he had just committed.
"Pardon me," said
he to the trodden one, who had got up enraged, and had seated
himself, "pardon me, and hear first of all a parable.
As a wanderer who dreameth
of remote things on a lonesome highway, runneth unawares against
a sleeping dog, a dog which lieth in the sun:
-As both of them then start
up and snap at each other, like deadly enemies, those two
beings mortally frightened- so did it happen unto us.
And yet! And yet- how little
was lacking for them to caress each other, that dog and that
lonesome one! Are they not both- lonesome ones!"
-"Whoever thou art,"
said the trodden one, still enraged, "thou treadest also
too nigh me with thy parable, and not only with thy foot!
Lo! am I then a dog?"-
And thereupon the sitting one got up, and pulled his naked
arm out of the swamp. For at first he had lain outstretched
on the ground, hidden and indiscernible, like those who lie
in wait for swamp-game.
"But whatever art thou
about!" called out Zarathustra in alarm, for he saw a
deal of blood streaming over the naked arm,- "what hath
hurt thee? Hath an evil beast bit thee, thou unfortunate one?"
The bleeding one laughed, still
angry, "What matter is it to thee!" said he, and
was about to go on. "Here am I at home and in my province.
Let him question me whoever will: to a dolt, however, I shall
"Thou art mistaken,"
said Zarathustra sympathetically, and held him fast; "thou
art mistaken. Here thou art not at home, but in my domain,
and therein shall no one receive any hurt.
Call me however what thou wilt-
I am who I must be. I call myself Zarathustra.
Well! Up thither is the way
to Zarathustra's cave: it is not far,wilt thou not attend
to thy wounds at my home?
It hath gone badly with thee,
thou unfortunate one, in this life: first a beast bit thee,
and then- a man trod upon thee!"- When however the trodden
one had heard the name of Zarathustra he was transformed.
"What happeneth unto me!" he exclaimed, "who
preoccupieth me so much in this life as this one man, namely
Zarathustra, and that one animal that liveth on blood, the
For the sake of the leech did
I lie here by this swamp, like a fisher, and already had mine
outstretched arm been bitten ten times, when there biteth
a still finer leech at my blood, Zarathustra himself!
O happiness! O miracle! Praised
be this day which enticed me into the swamp! Praised be the
best, the livest cupping-glass, that at present liveth; praised
be the great conscience-leech Zarathustra!"Thus spake
the trodden one, and Zarathustra rejoiced at his words and
their refined reverential style. "Who art thou?"
asked he, and gave him his hand, "there is much to clear
up and elucidate between us, but already methinketh pure clear
day is dawning."
"I am the spiritually
conscientious one," answered he who was asked, "and
in matters of the spirit it is difficult for any one to take
it more rigorously, more restrictedly, and more severely than
I, except him from whom I learnt it, Zarathustra himself.
Better know nothing than half-know
many things! Better be a fool on one's own account, than a
sage on other people's approbation! I- go to the basis:
-What matter if it be great
or small? If it be called swamp or sky? A handbreadth of basis
is enough for me, if it be actually basis and ground!
-A handbreadth of basis: thereon
can one stand. In the true knowing-knowledge there is nothing
great and nothing small."
"Then thou art perhaps
an expert on the leech?" asked Zarathustra; "and
thou investigatest the leech to its ultimate basis, thou conscientious
answered the trodden one, "that would be something immense;
how could I presume to do so!
That, however, of which I am
master and knower, is the brain of the leech:- that is my
And it is also a world! Forgive
it, however, that my pride here findeth expression, for here
I have not mine equal. Therefore said I: 'here am I at home.'
How long have I investigated
this one thing, the brain of the leech, so that here the slippery
truth might no longer slip from me! Here is my domain!
-For the sake of this did I
cast everything else aside, for the sake of this did everything
else become indifferent to me; and close beside my knowledge
lieth my black ignorance.
My spiritual conscience requireth
from me that it should be so- that I should know one thing,
and not know all else: they are a loathing unto me, all the
semi-spiritual, all the hazy, hovering, and visionary.
Where mine honesty ceaseth,
there am I blind, and want also to be blind. Where I want
to know, however, there want I also to be honest- namely,
severe, rigorous, restricted, cruel and inexorable.
Because thou once saidest,
O Zarathustra: 'Spirit is life which itself cutteth into life';-
that led and allured me to thy doctrine. And verily, with
mine own blood have I increased mine own knowledge!"
-"As the evidence indicateth,"
broke in Zarathustra; for still was the blood flowing down
on the naked arm of the conscientious one. For there had ten
leeches bitten into it.
"O thou strange fellow,
how much doth this very evidence teach menamely, thou thyself!
And not all, perhaps, might I pour into thy rigorous ear!
Well then! We part here! But
I would fain find thee again. Up thither is the way to my
cave: to-night shalt thou there by my welcome guest!
Fain would I also make amends
to thy body for Zarathustra treading upon thee with his feet:
I think about that. Just now, however, a cry of distress calleth
me hastily away from thee."
Thus spake Zarathustra.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science