And Zarathustra ran and ran and did not find anybody any more, and he was alone and found himself again and again, and he enjoyed and quaffed his solitude and thought of good things for hours. But around the hour of noon, when the sun stood straight over Zarathustra’s head, he came to an old crooked and knotty tree that was embraced, and hidden from itself, by the rich love of a grapevine; and yellow grapes hung from it in abundance, inviting the wanderer. Then he felt the desire to quench a slight thirst and to break off a grape; but even as he was stretching out his arm to do so, he felt a still greater desire for something else: namely, to lie down beside the tree at the perfect noon hour, and to sleep.
This Zarathustra did; and as soon as he lay on the ground in the stillness and secrecy of the many-hued grass, he forgot his slight thirst and fell asleep. For, as Zarathustra’s proverb says, one thing is more necessary than another. Only his eyes remained open: for they did not tire of seeing and praising the tree and the love of the grapevine. Falling asleep, however, Zarathustra spoke thus to his heart:
Still! Still! Did not the world become perfect just now? What is happening to me? As a delicate wind dances unseen on an inlaid sea, light, feather-light, thus sleep dances on me. My eyes he does not close, my soul he leaves awake. Light he is, verily, featherlight. He persuades me, I know not how. He touches me inwardly with caressing hands, he conquers me. Yes, he conquers me and makes my soul stretch out: how she is becoming long and tired, my strange soul! Did the eve of a seventh day come to her at noon? Has she already roamed happily among good and ripe things too long? She stretches out long, long-longer. She lies still, my strange soul. Too much that is good has she tasted; this golden sadness oppresses her, she makes a wry mouth.
Like a ship that has sailed into its stillest cove – now it leans against the earth, tired of the long voyages and the uncertain seas. Is not the earth more faithful? The way such a ship lies close to, and nestles to, the land – it is enough if a spider spins its thread to it from the land: no stronger ropes are needed now. Like such a tired ship in the stillest cove, I too rest now near the earth, faithful, trusting, waiting, tied to it with the softest threads.