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【P4C12】The Last Supper

For at this point the soothsayer interrupted the greeting of Zarathustra and his guests: he pressed forward as one who had no time to lose, seized Zarathustra’s hand and exclaimed: “But Zarathustra!

One thing is more necessary than the other, so say you yourself: well, one thing is now more necessary to me than all others.

A word at the right time: did you not invite me to table? And here are many who have made long journeys. You do not mean to feed us merely with speeches?

Besides, all of you have thought too much about freezing, drowning, suffocating, and other bodily dangers: none of you, however, have thought of my danger, namely, perishing of hunger-“

(Thus spoke the soothsayer. When Zarathustra’s animals, however, heard these words, they ran away in terror. For they saw that all they had brought home during the day would not be enough to fill the one soothsayer.)

“Likewise perishing of thirst,” continued the soothsayer. “And although I hear water splashing here like words of wisdom- that is to say, plenteously and unweariedly, I- want wine!

Not every one is a born water-drinker like Zarathustra. Neither does water suit weary and withered ones: we deserve wine- it alone gives immediate vigour and improvised health!”

On this occasion, when the soothsayer was longing for wine, it happened that the king on the left, the silent one, also found expression for once. “We took care,” said he, “about wine, I, along with my brother the king on the right: we have enough of wine,- a whole ass-load of it. So there is nothing lacking but bread.”

“Bread,” replied Zarathustra, laughing when he spoke, “it is precisely bread that hermits have not. But man does not live by bread alone, but also by the flesh of good lambs, of which I have two:

-These shall we slaughter quickly, and cook spicily with sage: it is so that I like them. And there is also no lack of roots and fruits, good enough even for the fastidious and dainty,- nor of nuts and other riddles for cracking.

Thus will we have a good repast in a little while. But whoever wishes to eat with us must also give a hand to the work, even the kings. For with Zarathustra even a king may be a cook.”

This proposal appealed to the hearts of all of them, save that the voluntary beggar objected to the flesh and wine and spices.

“Just hear this glutton Zarathustra!” said he jokingly: “do one go into caves and high mountains to make such repasts?

Now indeed do I understand what he once taught us: Blessed be moderate poverty!’ And why he wishes to do away with beggars.”

“Be of good cheer,” replied Zarathustra, “as I am. Abide by your customs, you excellent one: grind your corn, drink your water, praise your cooking,- if only it make you glad!

I am a law only for my own; I am not a law for all. Yet he who belongs to me must be strong of bone and light of foot,-

-Joyous in fight and feast, no sulker, no John o’ Dreams, ready for the hardest task as for the feast, healthy and hale.

The best belongs to mine and me; and if it be not given us, then do we take it:- the best food, the purest sky, the strongest thoughts, the fairest women!”-

Thus spoke Zarathustra; the king on the right however answered and said: “Strange! Did one ever hear such sensible things out of the mouth of a wise man?

And verily, it is the strangest thing in a wise man, if over and above, he be still sensible, and not an ass.”

Thus spoke the king on the right and wondered; the ass however, with ill-will, said you-A to his remark. This however was the beginning of that long repast which is called “The Supper” in the history-books. At this there was nothing else spoken of but the higher man.