Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 165

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

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 leech?

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

--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

"O Zarathustra," 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 world!

And it is also a world! Forgive it, however, that my pride here findeth
expression, for here I have not mine

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