O Zarathustra, everything is a lie in me; but that I collapse this my collapsing is genuine!
It honoureth thee, said Zarathustra gloomily, looking down with sidelong glance. It honoureth thee that thou soughtest for greatness, but it betrayeth thee also. Thou art not great.
Thou bad old magician, that is the best and the honestest thing I honour in thee, that thou hast become weary of thyself, and hast expressed it: I am not great.
Therein do I honour thee as a penitent-in-spirit, and although only for the twinkling of an eye, in that one moment wast thou genuine.
But tell me, what seekest thou here in my forests and rocks? And if thou hast put thyself in my way, what proof of me wouldst thou have
Wherein didst thou put me to the test?
Thus spake Zarathustra, and his eyes sparkled. But the old magician kept silence for a while; then said he: Did I put thee to the test? I seek only.
O Zarathustra, I seek a genuine one, a right one, a simple one, an unequivocal one, a man of perfect honesty, a vessel of wisdom, a saint of knowledge, a great man!
Knowest thou it not, O Zarathustra? I seek Zarathustra.
And here there arose a long silence between them. Zarathustra, however, became profoundly absorbed in thought, so that he shut his eyes. But afterwards coming back to the situation, he grasped the hand of the magician, and said, full of politeness and policy:
Well! Up thither leadeth the way; there is the cave of Zarathustra. In it mayest thou seek him whom thou wouldst fain find.
And ask counsel of mine animals, mine eagle and my serpent: they shall help thee to seek. My cave however is large.
I myself, to be sure I have as yet seen no great man. That which is great, the acutest eye is at present insensible to it. It is the kingdom of the populace.
Many a one have I found who stretched and inflated himself, and the people cried: Behold, a great man! But what good do all bellows do! The wind cometh out at last.
At last bursteth the frog which hath inflated itself too long: then cometh out the wind. To prick a swollen one in the belly, I call good pastime. Hear that, ye boys!
Our today is of the popular: who still knoweth what is great and what is small! Who could there seek successfully for greatness! A fool only: it succeedeth with fools.
Thou seekest for great men, thou strange fool? Who taught that to thee? Is today the time for it? Oh, thou bad seeker, why dost thou tempt me?
Thus spake Zarathustra, comforted in his heart, and went laughing on his way.
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