Thus spoke Zarathustra

Gustaf Fröding

From the poetry collection Nya dikter, first published in 1894.

One night Zarathustra went up the mountain with his disciples to look at the stars.

And as they sat on the mountain, looking up to heaven or looking down to the valley, where the forest grew along the banks, Zarathustra bowed his head and fell into thought.

Then he raised his head again, spoke and said:

How often have I told you these words: flee from virtue, and if it is evil, beware! For you know that virtue is the speech of a vain servant, and that evil is good to him who is the master of evil and not its servant. And how have I not exhorted you to love and improve yourselves, and not your neighbours? For life is short, and he that doeth the work of others, and not of himself, shall be as a dry tree: and the dry tree can never become wood in the bridge that leadeth to the superman.

But when did I tell you that you should bind men with bonds, that you yourselves might be free? It is the custom of servants to come to power. Or when did I tell you that you should beat and trample those who compete with you for glory? It is the custom of servants.

Skids down on the forest, where many peaks shoot up above the others! May the tall tree be taller, if the low trees are cut down? Or lift up your eyes to the thousand or hundred thousand stars that twinkle in space! Do you think that the star Sirius will shine brighter if the other stars are extinguished? That is the faith of little people.

Beware therefore of the custom of servants, and the faith of babes, when ye have the superman growing in you. Who knows if he who thinks himself greatest is the greatest! And may not the one who is still small, and has great power to grow, be greater than the one who is already great, who has less power from the beginning, and has already fulfilled the measure of his growth? So let each one grow and shine according to his kind and ability, and do not be low-minded! He who shines the brightest and is the greatest of all, when all are in their fullness and perfection, from his seed and spark shall the superman appear!

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and his disciples wondered greatly.

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