The Bedwarfing Virtue


When Zarathustra was again on the continent, he did not go straightway to his mountains and his cave, but made many wanderings and questionings, and ascertained this and that; so that he said of himself jestingly: Lo, a river that floweth back unto its source in many windings! For he wanted to learn what had taken place among men during the interval: whether they had become greater or smaller. And once, when he saw a row of new houses, he marvelled, and said:

What do these houses mean? Verily, no great soul put them up as its simile!

Did perhaps a silly child take them out of its toy-box? Would that another child put them again into the box!

And these rooms and chambers—can men go out and in there? They seem to be made for silk dolls; or for dainty-eaters, who perhaps let others eat with them.

And Zarathustra stood still and meditated. At last he said sorrowfully: There hath everything become smaller!

Everywhere do I see lower doorways; he who is of my type can still go through, but—he must stoop!

Oh, when shall I arrive again at my home, where I shall no longer have to stoop—shall no longer have to stoop before the small ones! And Zarathustra sighed, and gazed into the distance—

The same day, however, he gave his discourse on the bedwarfing virtue.


I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open; they do not forgive me for not envying their virtues.

They bite at me, because I say unto them that for small people, small virtues are necessary—and because it is hard for me to understand that small people are necessary!

Here am I still like a cock in a strange farm-yard, at which even the hens peck; but on that account I am not unfriendly to the hens.

I am courteous towards them, as towards all small annoyances; to be prickly towards what is small seemeth to me wisdom for hedgehogs.

They all speak of me when they sit around their fire in the evening; they speak of me, but no one thinketh—of me!

This is the new stillness which I have experienced: their noise around me spreadeth a mantle over my thoughts.

They shout to one another: ‘What is this gloomy cloud about to do to us? Let us see that it doth not bring a plague upon us!’

And recently did a woman seize upon her child that was coming unto me: ‘Take the children away,’ cried she, ‘such eyes scorch children’s souls.’

They cough when I speak; they think coughing an objection to strong winds—they divine nothing of the boisterousness of my happiness!

‘We have not yet time for Zarathustra’—so they object; but what matter about a time that ‘hath no time’ for Zarathustra?

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.