Page:Thus Spake Zarathustra - Thomas Common - 1917.djvu/99

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at the serpent; and then did it recognize the eyes of Zarathustra, wriggled awkwardly, and tried to get away. "Not at all," said Zarathustra, "as yet hast thou not received my thanks! Thou hast awakened me in time; my journey is yet long." "Your journey is short," said the adder sadly; "my poison is fatal." Zarathustra smiled. "When did ever a dragon die of a serpent's poison?"—said he. "But take thy poison back! Thou art not rich enough to present it to me." Then the adder fell again on his neck, and licked his wound.

When Zarathustra once told this to his disciples they asked him: "And what, O Zarathustra, is the moral of thy story?" And Zarathustra answered them thus:

The destroyer of morality, the good and just call me: my story is immoral.

When, however, ye have an enemy, then return him not good for evil: for that would abash him. But prove that he hath done something good to you.

And rather be angry than abash anyone! And when you are cursed, it pleaseth me not that ye should desire to bless. Rather curse a little also!

And should a great injustice befall you, then do quickly five small ones besides. Hideous to behold is he whom injustice presseth alone.

Did you know this? A shared injustice is half justice. And he who can bear it, should take the injustice upon himself!

A small revenge is humaner than no revenge at all. And if the punishment be not also a right and an honour to the transgressor, I do not like your punishment.

Nobler is it to own oneself in the wrong than to establish one's right, especially if one be in the right. Only, one must be rich enough to do so.

I do not like your cold justice; out of the eye of your judges