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【P4C8】The Voluntary Beggar

When Zarathustra had left the ugliest man, he was chilled and felt lonesome: for much coldness and lonesomeness came over his spirit, so that even his limbs became colder thereby. When, however, he wandered on and on, uphill and down, at times past green meadows, though also sometimes over wild stony couches where once perhaps an impatient brook had made its bed, then he turned all at once warmer and heartier again.

“What has happened to me?” he asked himself, “something warm and living quickens me; it must be in the neighborhood.

Already am I less alone; unconscious companions and brothers rove around me; their warm breath touches my soul.”

When, however, he spied about and sought for the comforters of his lonesomeness, behold, there were kine there standing together on an eminence, whose proximity and smell had warmed his heart. The kine, however, seemed to listen eagerly to a speaker, and took no heed of him who approached. When, however, Zarathustra was quite near to them, then did he hear plainly that a human voice spoke in the midst of the kine, and apparently all of them had turned their heads towards the speaker.

Then ran Zarathustra up speedily and drove the animals aside; for he feared that some one had here met with harm, which the pity of the kine would hardly be able to relieve. But in this he was deceived; for behold, there sat a man on the ground who seemed to be persuading the animals to have no fear of him, a peaceable man and Preacher-on-the-Mount, out of whose eyes kindness itself preached. “What do you seek here?” called out Zarathustra in astonishment.

“What do I here seek?” answered he: “the same that you seek, you mischief-maker; that is to say, happiness upon earth.

To that end, however, I would rather learn of these kine. For I tell you that I have already talked half a morning to them, and just now were they about to give me their answer. Why do you disturb them?

Except we be converted and become as kine, we shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn from them one thing: ruminating.

And verily, although a man should gain the whole world, and yet not learn one thing, ruminating, what would it profit him! He would not be rid of his affliction,

-His great affliction: that, however, is at present called disgust. Who has not at present his heart, his mouth and his eyes full of disgust? you also! you also! But behold these kine!”-

Thus spoke the Preacher-on-the-Mount, and turned then his own look towards Zarathustra- for hitherto it had rested lovingly on the kine-: then, however, he put on a different expression. “Who is this with whom I talk?” he exclaimed, frightened, and sprang up from the ground.

“This is the man without disgust, this is Zarathustra himself, the overcomer of the great disgust, this is the eye, this is the mouth, this is the heart of Zarathustra himself.”

And whilst he thus spoke he kissed with o’erflowing eyes the hands of him with whom he spoke, and behaved altogether like one to whom a precious gift and jewel has fallen unawares from heaven. The kine, however, gazed at it all and wondered.

“Speak not of me, you strange one; you amiable one!” said Zarathustra, and restrained his affection, “speak to me firstly of yourself! are you not the voluntary beggar who once cast away great riches,-

-Who was ashamed of his riches and of the rich, and fled to the poorest to give upon them his abundance and his heart? But they received him not.”

“But they received me not,” said the voluntary beggar, “you know it, forsooth. So I went at last to the animals and to those kine.”

“Then learned you,” interrupted Zarathustra, “how much harder it is to give properly than to take properly, and that giving well is an art- the last, subtlest master-art of kindness.

“Especially nowadays,” answered the voluntary beggar: “at present, that is to say, when everything low has become rebellious and exclusive and haughty in its manner- in the manner of the rabble.

For the hour has come, you know it , for the great, evil, long, slow mob-and-slave-insurrection: it extends and extends!

Now does it provoke the lower classes, all benevolence and petty giving; and the overrich may be on their guard!

Whoever at present drip, like bulgy bottles out of all-too-small necks:of such bottles at present one willingly breaks the necks.

Wanton avidity, bilious envy, careworn revenge, rabble-pride: all these struck my eye. It is no longer true that the poor are blessed. The kingdom of heaven, however, is with the kine.”

“And why is it not with the rich?” asked Zarathustra temptingly, while he kept back the kine which sniffed familiarly at the peaceful one.

“Why do you tempt me?” answered the other. “You know it yourself better even than I. What was it drove me to the poorest, O Zarathustra? Was it not my disgust at the richest?

-At the culprits of riches, with cold eyes and rank thoughts, who pick up profit out of all kinds of rubbish- at this rabble that stinks to heaven,

-At this gilded, falsified rabble, whose fathers were pickpockets, or carrion-crows, or rag-pickers, with wives compliant, lewd and forgetful:for they are all of them not far different from harlots-

Rabble above, rabble below! What are ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ at present! That distinction did I unlearn,- then did I flee away further and ever further, until I came to those kine.”

Thus spoke the peaceful one, and puffed himself and perspired with his words: so that the kine wondered anew. Zarathustra, however, kept looking into his face with a smile, all the time the man talked so severelyand shook silently his head.

“You do violence to yourself, you Preacher-on-the-Mount, when you use such severe words. For such severity neither your mouth nor your eye have been given you.

Nor, methinks, has your stomach either: to it all such rage and hatred and foaming-over is repugnant. Your stomach wants softer things: you are not a butcher.

Rather seem you to me a plant-eater and a root-man. Perhaps you grind corn. Certainly, however, you are averse to fleshly joys, and you love honey.”

“You have divined me well,” answered the voluntary beggar, with lightened heart. “I love honey, I also grind corn; for I have sought out what tastes sweetly and makes pure breath:

-Also what requires a long time, a day’s-work and a mouth’s-work for gentle idlers and sluggards.

Furthest, to be sure, have those kine carried it: they have created ruminating and lying in the sun. They also abstain from all heavy thoughts which inflate the heart.”

-“Well!” said Zarathustra, “you should also see my animals, my eagle and my serpent,- their like do not at present exist on earth.

Behold, there leads the way to my cave: be tonight its guest. And talk to my animals of the happiness of animals,-

-Until I myself come home. For now a cry of distress calls me hastily away from you. Also, should you find new honey with me, ice-cold, golden-comb-honey, eat it!

Now, however, take leave at once of your kine, you strange one! you amiable one! though it be hard for you. For they are your warmest friends and preceptors!”-

-“One excepted, whom I hold still dearer,” answered the voluntary beggar. “You yourself are good, O Zarathustra, and better even than a cow!”

“Away, away with you! you evil flatterer!” cried Zarathustra mischievously, “why do you spoil me with such praise and flattery-honey?

“Away, away from me!” cried he once more, and heaved his stick at the fond beggar, who, however, ran nimbly away.