Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 19

at a little door, and was going along the
rope which was stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the
market-place and the people. When he was just midway across, the little
door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like a buffoon
sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one. "Go on, halt-foot,"
cried his frightful voice, "go on, lazy-bones, interloper,
sallow-face!--lest I tickle thee with my heel! What dost thou here
between the towers? In the tower is the place for thee, thou shouldst be
locked up; to one better than thyself thou blockest the way!"--And with
every word he came nearer and nearer the first one. When, however, he
was but a step behind, there happened the frightful thing which made
every mouth mute and every eye fixed--he uttered a yell like a devil,
and jumped over the other who was in his way. The latter, however, when
he thus saw his rival triumph, lost at the same time his head and his
footing on the rope; he threw his pole away, and shot downwards faster
than it, like an eddy of arms and legs, into the depth. The market-place
and the people were like the sea when the storm cometh on: they all flew
apart and in disorder, especially where the body was about to fall.

Zarathustra, however, remained standing, and just beside him fell the
body, badly injured and disfigured, but not yet dead. After a while
consciousness returned to the shattered man, and he saw Zarathustra
kneeling beside him. "What art thou doing there?" said he at last, "I
knew long ago that the devil would trip me up. Now he draggeth me to
hell: wilt thou prevent him?"

"On mine honour, my friend," answered Zarathustra, "there is nothing of
all that whereof thou speakest: there is no devil and no hell. Thy soul
will be dead even sooner than thy body: fear, therefore, nothing any
more!"

The man looked up distrustfully. "If thou speakest the truth," said he,
"I lose nothing when I lose my life. I am not much more than an animal
which hath been taught to dance by blows and scanty fare."

"Not at all," said Zarathustra, "thou hast made danger thy calling;
therein there is nothing contemptible. Now thou perishest by thy
calling: therefore will I bury thee with mine own hands."

When Zarathustra had said this the dying one did not reply further; but
he moved his hand as if he sought the hand of Zarathustra in gratitude.

7.

Meanwhile the evening came on, and the market-place veiled itself in
gloom. Then the

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