Page:Thus Spake Zarathustra - Thomas Common - 1917.djvu/170

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40. Great Events

THERE is an isle in the sea- not far from the Blessed isles of Zarathustra- on which a volcano ever smokes; of which isle the people, and especially the old women amongst them, say that it is placed as a rock before the gate of the under-world; but that through the volcano itself the narrow way leads downwards which conducts to this gate.

Now about the time that Zarathustra sojourned on the Blessed isles, it happened that a ship anchored at the isle on which stands the smoking mountain, and the crew went ashore to shoot rabbits. About the noontide hour, however, when the captain and his men were together again, they saw suddenly a man coming towards them through the air, and a voice said distinctly: "It is time! It is the highest time!" But when the figure was nearest to them (it flew past quickly, however, like a shadow, in the direction of the volcano), then did they recognize with the greatest surprise that it was Zarathustra; for they had all seen him before except the captain himself, and they loved him as the people love: in such wise that love and awe were combined in equal degree.

"Behold!" said the old helmsman, "there goes Zarathustra to hell!"

About the same time that these sailors landed on the fire-isle, there was a rumor that Zarathustra had disappeared; and when his friends were asked about it, they said that he had gone on board a ship by night, without saying where he was going.

Thus there arose some uneasiness. After three days, however, there came the story of the ship's crew in addition to this