I feel a bit inadequate posting this. I've never read all of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and I'm not sure who's translation this is, as it was just the one I was able to find on the internet, but I really love this passage. I actually heard this read in a song, and looked it up to discover it was Nietzsche. I just can't get over the imagery presented in this passage. It gives me goosebumps every time I read it. It's at once nightmarish and transcendental (obviously part of the parable). It also makes me think of Caspar David Friedrich paintings. Dark, gloomy, mysterious, but with an air of eternity and stillness that is some how comforting.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
"Among wild cliffs I stood suddenly alone, bleak, in the bleakest moonlight. But there lay a man. And there — the dog, jumping, bristling, whining — now he saw me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I saw — I had never seen the like. A young shepherd I saw, writhing, gagging, in spasms, his face distorted, and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth. Had I ever seen so much nausea and pale dread on one face? He seemed to have been asleep when the snake crawled into his throat, and there bit itself fast. My hand tore at the snake and tore in vain; it did not tear the snake out of his throat. Then it cried out of me; "Bite! Bite its head off! Bite!" Thus it cried out of me — my dread, my hatred, my nausea, my pity, all that is good and wicked in me cried out of me with a single cry.
You bold ones who surround me! You searchers, researchers, and whoever among you has embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas. You who are glad of riddles! Guess me this riddle that I saw then, interpret me the vision of the loneliest. For it was a vision and a foreseeing. What did I see then in a parable? And who is it who must yet come one day? Who is the shepherd into whose throat the snake crawled thus? Who is the man into whose throat all that is heaviest and blackest will crawl thus?
The shepherd, however, bit as my cry counseled him; he bit with a good bite. Far away he spewed the head of the snake — and he jumped up. No longer shepherd. no longer human — one changed, radiant, laughing! Never yet on earth has a human being laughed as he laughed! O my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no human laughter; and now a thirst gnaws at me, a longing that never grows still. My longing for this laughter gnaws at me; oh, how do I bear to go on living! And how could I bear to die now! "