Out of Service
Not long, however, after Zarathustra had freed himself from the magician, he again saw a person sitting beside the path which he followed, namely a tall, black man, with a haggard, pale countenance: this man grieved him exceedingly. Alas, said he to his heart, there sitteth disguised affliction; methinketh he is of the type of the priests: what do they want in my domain?
What! Hardly have I escaped from that magician, and must another necromancer again run across my path
Some sorcerer with laying-on-of-hands, some sombre wonder-worker by the grace of God, some anointed world-maligner, whom may the devil take!
But the devil is never at the place which would be his right place; he always cometh too late, that cursed dwarf and club-foot!
Thus cursed Zarathustra impatiently in his heart, and considered how with averted look he might slip past the black man. But behold, it came about otherwise. For at the same moment had the sitting one already perceived him; and not unlike one whom an unexpected happiness overtaketh, he sprang to his feet, and went straight towards Zarathustra.
Whoever thou art, thou traveller, said he, help a strayed one, a seeker, an old man, who may here easily come to grief!
The world here is strange to me, and remote; wild beasts also did I hear howling; and he who could have given me protection he is himself no more.
I was seeking the last pious man, a saint and an anchorite, who, alone in his forest, had not yet heard of what all the world knoweth at present.
What doth all the world know at present? asked Zarathustra. Perhaps that the old God no longer liveth, in whom all the world once believed?
Thou sayest it, answered the old man sorrowfully. And I served that old God until his last hour.
Now, however, am I out of service, without master, and yet not free; likewise am I no longer merry even for an hour, except it be in recollections.
Therefore did I ascend into these mountains, that I might finally have a festival for myself once more, as becometh an old pope and church-father: for know it, that I am the last pope! A festival of pious recollections and divine services.
Now, however, is he himself dead, the most pious of men, the saint in the forest, who praised his God constantly with singing and mumbling.
He himself found I no longer when I found his cot but two wolves found I therein, which howled on account of his death, for all animals loved him. Then did I haste away.
Had I thus come in vain into these forests and mountains? Then did my heart determine that I should seek another, the most pious of all those who believe not in God my heart determined that I should seek Zarathustra!
Thus spake the hoary man, and gazed with keen eyes at him who stood before him. Zarathustra however seized the hand of the old pope and regarded it a long while with admiration.
Lo! Thou venerable one, said he then. What a fine and long hand! That is the hand of one who hath ever dispensed blessings. Now, however, doth it hold fast him whom thou seekest, me Zarathustra.
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