XL. GREAT EVENTS. (CONT'D)
And just own to it! Little had ever taken place when thy noise and smoke passed
away. What, if a city did become a mummy, and a statue lay in the mud!
And this do I say also to the o'erthrowers of statues: It is certainly the
greatest folly to throw salt into the sea, and statues into the mud.
In the mud of your contempt lay the statue: but it is just its law, that out of
contempt, its life and living beauty grow again!
With diviner features doth it now arise, seducing by its suffering; and verily!
it will yet thank you for o'erthrowing it, ye subverters!
This counsel, however, do I counsel to kings and churches, and to all that is
weak with age or virtue--let yourselves be o'erthrown! That ye may again come to
life, and that virtue--may come to you!--"
Thus spake I before the fire-dog: then did he interrupt me sullenly, and asked:
"Church? What is that?"
"Church?" answered I, "that is a kind of state, and indeed the most mendacious.
But remain quiet, thou dissembling dog! Thou surely knowest thine own species
Like thyself the state is a dissembling dog; like thee doth it like to speak with
smoke and roaring--to make believe, like thee, that it speaketh out of the heart
For it seeketh by all means to be the most important creature on earth, the
state; and people think it so."
When I had said this, the fire-dog acted as if mad with envy. "What!" cried he,
"the most important creature on earth? And people think it so?" And so much
vapour and terrible voices came out of his throat, that I thought he would choke with
vexation and envy.
At last he became calmer and his panting subsided; as soon, however, as he was
quiet, I said laughingly:
"Thou art angry, fire-dog: so I am in the right about thee!
And that I may also maintain the right, hear the story of another fire-dog; he
speaketh actually out of the heart of the earth.
Gold doth his breath exhale, and golden rain: so doth his heart desire. What
are ashes and smoke and hot dregs to him!
Laughter flitteth from him like a variegated cloud; adverse is he to thy gargling
and spewing and grips in the bowels!
The gold, however, and the laughter--these doth he take out of the heart of the
earth: for, that thou mayst know it,--THE HEART OF THE EARTH IS OF GOLD."
When the fire-dog heard this, he could no longer endure to listen to me. Abashed
did he draw in his tail, said "bow-wow!" in a cowed voice, and crept down into
Thus told Zarathustra. His disciples, however, hardly listened to him: so great
was their eagerness to tell him about the sailors, the rabbits, and the flying
"What am I to think of it!" said Zarathustra. "Am I indeed a ghost?
But it may have been my shadow. Ye have surely heard something of the Wanderer
and his Shadow?
One thing, however, is certain: I must keep a tighter hold of it; otherwise it
will spoil my reputation."
And once more Zarathustra shook his head and wondered. "What am I to think of
it!" said he once more.
"Why did the ghost cry: 'It is time! It is the highest time!'
For WHAT is it then--the highest time?"--
Thus spake Zarathustra.