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.
Thus Spake Zarathurstra by Friedrich Nietzsche.