Immediately thereupon, Zarathustra, who had opened ears and eyes to this talk, rose from his hiding- place, advanced towards the kings, and thus began:

He who hearkeneth unto you, he who gladly hearkeneth unto you, is called Zarathustra.

I am Zarathustra who once said: ‘What doth it now matter about kings!’ Forgive me; I rejoiced when ye said to each other: ‘What doth it matter about us kings!’

Here, however, is my domain and jurisdiction; what may ye be seeking in my domain? Perhaps, however, ye have found on your way what I seek: namely, the higher man.

When the kings heard this, they beat upon their breasts and said with one voice: We are recognised!

With the sword of thine utterance severest thou the thickest darkness of our hearts. Thou hast discovered our distress; for lo, we are on our way to find the higher man —

The man that is higher than we, although we are kings. To him do we convey this ass. For the highest man shall also be the highest lord on earth.

There is no sorer misfortune in all human destiny than when the mighty of the earth are not also the first men. Then everything becometh false and distorted and monstrous.

And when they are even the last men, and more beast than man, then riseth and riseth the populace in honour, and at last saith even the populace-virtue: ‘Lo, I alone am virtue!’

What have I just heard? answered Zarathustra. What wisdom in kings! I am enchanted, and verily, I have already promptings to make a rhyme thereon —

Even if it should happen to be a rhyme not suited for every one’s ears. I unlearned long ago to have consideration for long ears. Well then! Well now!

(Here, however, it happened that the ass also found utterance: it said distinctly and with malevolence, Ye-a.)

’Twas once — methinks year one of our blessed Lord —
Drunk without wine, the Sybil thus deplored:
‘How ill things go!
Decline! Decline! Ne’er sank the world so low!
Rome now hath turned harlot and harlot- stew,
Rome’s Caesar a beast, and God — hath turned Jew!’


With those rhymes of Zarathustra the kings were delighted; the king on the right, however, said: O Zarathustra, how well it was that we set out to see thee!

For thine enemies showed us thy likeness in their mirror; there lookedst thou with the grimace of a devil, and sneeringly, so that we were afraid of thee.

But what good did it do! Always didst thou prick us anew in heart and ear with thy sayings. Then did we say at last: What doth it matter how he look!

We must hear him, him who teacheth: ‘Ye shall love peace as a means to new wars, and the short peace more than the long!’

No one ever spake such warlike words: ‘What is good? To be brave is good. It is the good war that halloweth every cause.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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