A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 13

the beautiful vista of rocky gorge, and
level, cacti-studded flat, wrought by the moonlight into a miracle of
soft splendor and wondrous enchantment.

Few western wonders are more inspiring than the beauties of an Arizona
moonlit landscape; the silvered mountains in the distance, the strange
lights and shadows upon hog back and arroyo, and the grotesque details
of the stiff, yet beautiful cacti form a picture at once enchanting and
inspiring; as though one were catching for the first time a glimpse of
some dead and forgotten world, so different is it from the aspect of
any other spot upon our earth.

As I stood thus meditating, I turned my gaze from the landscape to the
heavens where the myriad stars formed a gorgeous and fitting canopy for
the wonders of the earthly scene. My attention was quickly riveted by
a large red star close to the distant horizon. As I gazed upon it I
felt a spell of overpowering fascination--it was Mars, the god of war,
and for me, the fighting man, it had always held the power of
irresistible enchantment. As I gazed at it on that far-gone night it
seemed to call across the unthinkable void, to lure me to it, to draw
me as the lodestone attracts a particle of iron.

My longing was beyond the power of opposition; I closed my eyes,
stretched out my arms toward the god of my vocation and felt myself
drawn with the suddenness of thought through the trackless immensity of
space. There was an instant of extreme cold and utter darkness.




CHAPTER III

MY ADVENT ON MARS


I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was
on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I
was not asleep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told
me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you
that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I.

I found myself lying prone upon a bed of yellowish, mosslike vegetation
which stretched around me in all directions for interminable miles. I
seemed to be lying in a deep, circular basin, along the outer verge of
which I could distinguish the irregularities of low hills.

It was midday, the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was
rather intense upon my naked body, yet no greater than would have been
true under similar conditions on an Arizona desert. Here and there
were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing

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