The Stillest Hour
What hath happened unto me, my friends? Ye see me troubled, driven forth, unwillingly obedient, ready to goalas, to go away from you!
Yea, once more must Zarathustra retire to his solitude; but unjoyously this time doth the bear go back to his cave!
What hath happened unto me? Who ordereth this? Ah, mine angry mistress wisheth it so; she spake unto me. Have I ever named her name to you?
Yesterday towards evening there spake unto me my stillest hour: that is the name of my terrible mistress.
And thus did it happenfor everything must I tell you, that your heart may not harden against the suddenly departing one!
Do ye know the terror of him who falleth asleep?
To the very toes he is terrified, because the ground giveth way under him, and the dream beginneth.
This do I speak unto you in parable. Yesterday at the stillest hour did the ground give way under me; the dream began.
The hour-hand moved on, the timepiece of my life drew breath never did I hear such stillness around me, so that my heart was terrified.
Then was there spoken unto me without voice: Thou knowest it, Zarathustra?
And I cried in terror at this whispering, and the blood left my face; but I was silent.
Then was there once more spoken unto me without voice: Thou knowest it, Zarathustra, but thou dost not speak it!
And at last I answered, like one defiant: Yea, I know it, but I will not speak it!
Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: Thou wilt not, Zarathustra? Is this true? Conceal thyself not behind thy defiance!
And I wept and trembled like a child, and said: Ah, I would indeed, but how can I do it! Exempt me only from this! It is beyond my power!
Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: What matter about thyself, Zarathustra! Speak thy word, and succumb!
And I answered: Ah, is it my word? Who am I? I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even to succumb by it.
Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: What matter about thyself? Thou art not yet humble enough for me. Humility hath the hardest skin.
And I answered: What hath not the skin of my humility endured! At the foot of my height do I dwell; how high are my summits, no one hath yet told me. But well do I know my valleys.
Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: O Zarathustra, he who hath to remove mountains removeth also valleys and plains.
And I answered: As yet hath my word not removed mountains, and what I have spoken hath not reached man. I went, indeed, unto men, but not yet have I attained unto them.
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