Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 159

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

"Thou ill announcer," said Zarathustra at last, "that is a cry of
distress, and the cry of a man; it may come perhaps out of a black sea.
But what doth human distress matter to me! My last sin which hath been
reserved for me,--knowest thou what it is called?"

--"PITY!" answered the soothsayer from an overflowing heart, and raised
both his hands aloft--"O Zarathustra, I

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