Scarcely however was the voluntary beggar gone in haste and Zarathustra again alone, when he heard behind him a new voice which called out: Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, forsooth, O Zarathustra, myself, thy shadow! But Zarathustra did not wait; for a sudden irritation came over him on account of the crowd and the crowding in his mountains. Whither hath my lonesomeness gone? spake he.
It is verily becoming too much for me; these mountains swarm; my kingdom is no longer of this world; I require new mountains.
My shadow calleth me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run after me! I run away from it.
Thus spake Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind followed after him, so that immediately there were three runners, one after the other namely, foremost the voluntary beggar, then Zarathustra, and thirdly, and hindmost, his shadow. But not long had they run thus when Zarathustra became conscious of his folly, and shook off with one jerk all his irritation and detestation.
What, said he, have not the most ludicrous things always happened to us old anchorities and saints?
Verily, my folly hath grown big in the mountains! Now do I hear six old fools legs rattling behind one another!
But doth Zarathustra need to be frightened by his shadow? Also, methinketh that after all it hath longer legs than mine.
Thus spake Zarathustra, and laughing with eyes and entrails he stood still and turned round quickly and behold, he almost thereby threw his shadow and follower to the ground, so closely had the latter followed at his heels, and so weak was he. For when Zarathustra scrutinised him with his glance he was frightened as by a sudden apparition, so slender, swarthy, hollow and worn-out did this follower appear.
Who art thou? asked Zarathustra vehemently. What doest thou here? And why callest thou thyself my shadow? Thou art not pleasing unto me.
Forgive me, answered the shadow, that it is I; and if I please thee not well, O Zarathustra, therein do I admire thee and thy good taste!
A wanderer am I, who have walked long at thy heels; always on the way, but without a goal, also without a home: so that verily, I lack little of being the eternally Wandering Jew, except that I am not eternal and not a Jew.
What? Must I ever be on the way? Whirled by every wind, unsettled, driven about? O earth, thou hast become too round for me!
On every surface have I already sat; like tired dust have I fallen asleep on mirrors and window-panes. Everything taketh from me, nothing giveth; I become thin I am almost equal to a shadow.
After thee, however, O Zarathustra, did I fly and hie longest; and though I hid myself from thee, I was nevertheless thy best shadow: wherever thou hast sat, there sat I also.
With thee have I wandered about in the remotest, coldest worlds, like a phantom that voluntarily haunteth winter roofs and snows.
With thee have I pushed into all the forbidden, all the worst and the furthest: and if there be anything of virtue in me, it is that I have had no fear of any prohibition.
With thee have I broken up whatever my heart revered; all boundary-stones and statues have I oerthrown, the most dangerous wishes did I pursue verily, beyond every crime did I once go.
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