EXCERPTS FROM ZARATHUSTRA’S PROLOGUE
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. Meanwhile the evening came on, and the market-place veiled itself in gloom. Then the people dispersed, for even curiosity and terror become fatigued. Zarathustra, however, still sat beside the dead man on the ground, absorbed in thought: so he forgot the time. But at last it became night, and a cold wind blew upon the lonely one. Then arose Zarathustra and said to his heart:
“Verily, a fine catch of fish hath Zarathustra made to-day! It is not a man he hath caught, but a corpse. Sombre is human life, and as yet without meaning: a buffoon may be fateful to it.
I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the Superman, the lightning out of the dark cloud–man. But still am I far from them, and my sense speaketh not unto their sense. To men I am still something between a fool and a corpse. Gloomy is the night, gloomy are the ways of Zarathustra. Come, thou cold and stiff companion! I carry thee to the place where I shall bury thee with mine own hands.”
When Zarathustra had said this to his heart, he put the corpse upon his shoulders and set out on his way.