11 Apr 2009

"Upon the Mount of Olives": Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part 3, Sect. 50

[The following is summary. The original text is placed after.]

Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Third Part

L. Upon the Mount of Olives

Zarathustra welcomes the winter like a friend. But he also enjoys running from him to the olive mountain.
With warm feet and warm thoughts I run where the wind stands still, to the sunny nook of my mount of olives. (172d)
Zarathustra honors winter. He will not worship fire idols. And he lives more heartily in winter.
He begins each morning mocking the winter by taking a cold bath. (173c)
The winter teaches silence. And long silence can be prankish. (174a)
Sometimes he is silent by saying nothing through long monologues.
Rattling with discourse and dice, I outwit those who wait solemnly: my will and purpose shall elude all these severe inspectors. That no one may discern my ground and ultimate will, for that I have invented my long bring silence. (175b, emphasis mine)
The brightest, cleverest, boldest, and most transparent are often those who hold silent: "their ground is down so deep that event the brightest water does not betray it." (174c)
The winter sky is prankishly silent.
It is necessary Zarathustra keep silent. For his words are so precious they must be hid.
And must I not conceal myself like one who has swallowed gold, lest they slit open my soul? (174cd)
He shows only the winter peaks of his mountain, and not the daily paths of sunshine that wind around it many times over. Those who bear grudges then do not know the light his winter hides.
They hear only my winter winds whistling and not that I also cross warm seas, like longing, heavy, not south winds. They still have pity on my accidents; but my word says, "Let accidents come to me, they are innocent as little children." How could they endure my happiness if I did not wrap my happiness in accidents and winter distress and polar-bear caps and covers of snowy heavens (174-175)

Ils n’entendent siffler que mes tempêtes hivernales : et ne savent pas que je passeaussi sur de chaudes mers, pareil à des vents du sud langoureux, lourds et ardents.

Ils ont pitié de mes accidents et de mes hasards : – mais mes paroles disent : « Laissez venir à moi le hasard : il est innocent comme un petit enfant ! »

Comment sauraient-ils supporter mon bonheur si je ne mettais autour de monbonheur des accidents et des misères hivernales, des toques de fourrure et desmanteaux de neige ? (Albert translation)

Zarathustra pretends to be cold, and endures the pity of those who no inner warmth. They would be too jealous of his joy.
Meanwhile I run crisscross on my mount of olives with warm feet; in the sunny nook of my mount of olives I sing and I mock all pity. (175c)

From the Common translation:


Winter, a bad guest, sitteth with me at home; blue are my hands with his friendly hand-shaking.

I honour him, that bad guest, but gladly leave him alone. Gladly do I run away from him; and when one runneth WELL, then one escapeth him!

With warm feet and warm thoughts do I run where the wind is calm—to the sunny corner of mine olive-mount.

There do I laugh at my stern guest, and am still fond of him; because he cleareth my house of flies, and quieteth many little noises.

For he suffereth it not if a gnat wanteth to buzz, or even two of them; also the lanes maketh he lonesome, so that the moonlight is afraid there at night.

A hard guest is he,—but I honour him, and do not worship, like the tenderlings, the pot-bellied fire-idol.

Better even a little teeth-chattering than idol-adoration!—so willeth my nature. And especially have I a grudge against all ardent, steaming, steamy fire-idols.

Him whom I love, I love better in winter than in summer; better do I now mock at mine enemies, and more heartily, when winter sitteth in my house.

Heartily, verily, even when I CREEP into bed—: there, still laugheth and wantoneth my hidden happiness; even my deceptive dream laugheth.

I, a—creeper? Never in my life did I creep before the powerful; and if ever I lied, then did I lie out of love. Therefore am I glad even in my winter-bed.

A poor bed warmeth me more than a rich one, for I am jealous of my poverty. And in winter she is most faithful unto me.

With a wickedness do I begin every day: I mock at the winter with a cold bath: on that account grumbleth my stern house-mate.

Also do I like to tickle him with a wax-taper, that he may finally let the heavens emerge from ashy-grey twilight.

For especially wicked am I in the morning: at the early hour when the pail rattleth at the well, and horses neigh warmly in grey lanes:—

Impatiently do I then wait, that the clear sky may finally dawn for me, the snow-bearded winter-sky, the hoary one, the white-head,—

—The winter-sky, the silent winter-sky, which often stifleth even its sun!

Did I perhaps learn from it the long clear silence? Or did it learn it from me? Or hath each of us devised it himself?

Of all good things the origin is a thousandfold,—all good roguish things spring into existence for joy: how could they always do so—for once only!

A good roguish thing is also the long silence, and to look, like the winter-sky, out of a clear, round-eyed countenance:—

—Like it to stifle one's sun, and one's inflexible solar will: verily, this art and this winter-roguishness have I learnt WELL!

My best-loved wickedness and art is it, that my silence hath learned not to betray itself by silence.

Clattering with diction and dice, I outwit the solemn assistants: all those stern watchers, shall my will and purpose elude.

That no one might see down into my depth and into mine ultimate will—for that purpose did I devise the long clear silence.

Many a shrewd one did I find: he veiled his countenance and made his water muddy, that no one might see therethrough and thereunder.

But precisely unto him came the shrewder distrusters and nut-crackers: precisely from him did they fish his best-concealed fish!

But the clear, the honest, the transparent—these are for me the wisest silent ones: in them, so PROFOUND is the depth that even the clearest water doth not—betray it.—

Thou snow-bearded, silent, winter-sky, thou round-eyed whitehead above me! Oh, thou heavenly simile of my soul and its wantonness!

And MUST I not conceal myself like one who hath swallowed gold—lest my soul should be ripped up?

MUST I not wear stilts, that they may OVERLOOK my long legs—all those enviers and injurers around me?

Those dingy, fire-warmed, used-up, green-tinted, ill-natured souls—how COULD their envy endure my happiness!

Thus do I show them only the ice and winter of my peaks—and NOT that my mountain windeth all the solar girdles around it!

They hear only the whistling of my winter-storms: and know NOT that I also travel over warm seas, like longing, heavy, hot south-winds.

They commiserate also my accidents and chances:—but MY word saith: "Suffer the chance to come unto me: innocent is it as a little child!"

How COULD they endure my happiness, if I did not put around it accidents, and winter-privations, and bear-skin caps, and enmantling snowflakes!

—If I did not myself commiserate their PITY, the pity of those enviers and injurers!

—If I did not myself sigh before them, and chatter with cold, and patiently LET myself be swathed in their pity!

This is the wise waggish-will and good-will of my soul, that it CONCEALETH NOT its winters and glacial storms; it concealeth not its chilblains either.

To one man, lonesomeness is the flight of the sick one; to another, it is the flight FROM the sick ones.

Let them HEAR me chattering and sighing with winter-cold, all those poor squinting knaves around me! With such sighing and chattering do I flee from their heated rooms.

Let them sympathise with me and sigh with me on account of my chilblains: "At the ice of knowledge will he yet FREEZE TO DEATH!"—so they mourn.

Meanwhile do I run with warm feet hither and thither on mine olive-mount: in the sunny corner of mine olive-mount do I sing, and mock at all pity.—

Thus sang Zarathustra.

French text:

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra. Transl. Henri Albert. Paris: Société du Mercure de France, 1898.

Available online at:


Quotations from:

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Transl. Walter Kaufmann. New York: The Modern Library, 1995.

Text reproduction from:

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spake Zarathustra. Transl. Thomas

Common. London: T.N. Foulis, 1911.

Online text available at:




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