228 THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA, III
And, verily, what I saw, the like I had never seen. A young shepherd I saw, writhing, choking, quivering, with his face distorted, from whose mouth a black heavy snake hung down.
Did I ever see so much loathing and pale horror in one face? Had he slept? Then the serpent crept into his throat and clung there biting.
My hand tore at the serpent and tore in vain ! It was unable to tear the snake out of his throat. Then something in myself cried out : ' Bite ! Bite !
Off its head ! Bite ! ' Thus something in myself cried out. My horror, my hate, my loathing, my pity, all my good and bad cried in one cry out of me.
Ye keen ones around me ! Ye searchers, tempters, and whoever of you goeth on board a ship for unex- plored seas with cunning sails! Ye rejoicers in riddles!
Find out this riddle, which I beheld at that time ! Interpret the vision of the loneliest one !
For a vision it was, and a forecast. What did I then behold in a parable? And who is he that must come one day ?
Who is the shepherd whose throat was thus entered by the snake ? Who is the man from whose throat thus the hardest, blackest thing will have to creep forth ?
But the shepherd bit, as my cry counselled him ; and with a strong bite ! Far away he spat the snake's head and leaped up.