1. IN those days, Pon'yah was king of Oas, and, by title, KING OF THE SUN; KING OF THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD; KING OF KINGS; MIGHTIEST OF MORTALS; OWNER OF ALL HUMAN FLESH; RULER OF THE EARTH, AND MASTER OF LIFE AND DEATH!
2. For nearly four years had Zarathustra been absent, and the effect of his preaching in foreign lands had been to cut off the paying of tribute to the City of the Sun. For which reason, Pon'yah, king of Oas, had sworn an oath under his own thigh to pursue Zarathustra, and have him slain.
3. Accordingly, the king had equipped many different armies and sent them in search of Zarathustra; but I'hua'Mazda led Zarathustra in a different way on the one hand, and sent spirits to inspire the soldiers to go another way. Consequently, none of the armies sent to capture Zarathustra ever found him. When he was heard of in one city, and the soldiers came to that city, he was gone. And so it continued, until now Zarathustra had returned to the very gates of Oas.
4. Because Zarathustra was the largest man in the world, he was easily known; and from a description of him, even those who had never seen him, would know him the first time they laid their eyes on him.
5. Asha had continued with the Zarathustrians; but in consequence of the persecutions of the kings of Oas, they had been obliged to retire further into the forests and plains and unsettled regions, where roved the Listians, the wild people. To these the Zarathustrians were friends, and the Listians came in great numbers, and dwelt near about the Zarathustrians.
6. After Zarathustra had completed his travels, he returned to the Forest of Goats, in the first place, to meet his followers, and to rejoice with them for the great light I'hua'Mazda had bestowed upon them. So, when Zarathustra returned to them, there was great rejoicing; and there were present Zarathustra's mother, and many of the Listians who knew him in his childhood.
7. After many days of rest and rejoicing, I'hua'Mazda came to Zarathustra, saying: Behold, the time hath now come to go against the city of thy birth. Take Asha with thee, and I will cause Oas to fall before thy hand.
8. Accordingly, Zarathustra took Asha and returned, as stated, to the gates of Oas; but he was known at once; and when he demanded admittance, he was refused, because the king had previously decreed his banishment and p. 241b death, there being an offer of reward to whoever would destroy him and bring his skull to the king.
9. The keeper of the gate, whose name was Zhoo'das, thought to obtain the reward, and hit upon the following plan, saying to Zarathustra: I know thee; thou art Zarathustra, who art banished under penalty of death. I have no right to admit thee within the city, nor have I a desire to witness thy sure death. But if thou wilt secrete thyself, till the change of watch, when I am absent on the king's reports, thou mayst take thine own risk. But if I admit thee, I will also be put to death.
10. Zarathustra said: As for myself, I fear not; but I would not have thee put to death on my account. Where, then, can I secrete myself, till the change of watch?
11. Zhoo'das, the keeper of the gate, said: Within the chamber of the wall. Go thou, and thy friend with thee.
12. So Zarathustra went into the chamber of the wall, and Asha went with him. And now, when they were concealed, Zhoo'das called his wife and said unto her: Be thou here, walking back and forth, that they who are concealed will think it is I. And I will run quickly to the guards, and they shall come and seize Zarathustra, for whom the reward is offered.
13. And the keeper's wife came and walked back and forth; and the keeper ran quickly and brought the guards, one thousand men, with spears and swords and war clubs and slings and bows and arrows, and they surrounded the place of the chamber on all sides. And then spake Zhoo'das ironically, saying: Come forth, Zarathustra, now is the change of watch!
14. And Zarathustra and Asha came forth and beheld what was done. Zarathustra said to Asha: The Light is upon me. Go thou with me. No harm shall come to thee. But now is the time come in which I shall fulfill what hath been prophesied of me in my youth.
Next: Book of God's Word: Chapter XXVIII