A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 137

Tarkas' quarters, where I was left alone while the chieftain attended
the customary council which immediately follows an engagement.

As I sat awaiting the return of the green warrior I heard something
move in an adjoining apartment, and as I glanced up there rushed
suddenly upon me a huge and hideous creature which bore me backward
upon the pile of silks and furs upon which I had been reclining. It
was Woola--faithful, loving Woola. He had found his way back to Thark
and, as Tars Tarkas later told me, had gone immediately to my former
quarters where he had taken up his pathetic and seemingly hopeless
watch for my return.

"Tal Hajus knows that you are here, John Carter," said Tars Tarkas, on
his return from the jeddak's quarters; "Sarkoja saw and recognized you
as we were returning. Tal Hajus has ordered me to bring you before him
tonight. I have ten thoats, John Carter; you may take your choice from
among them, and I will accompany you to the nearest waterway that leads
to Helium. Tars Tarkas may be a cruel green warrior, but he can be a
friend as well. Come, we must start."

"And when you return, Tars Tarkas?" I asked.

"The wild calots, possibly, or worse," he replied. "Unless I should
chance to have the opportunity I have so long waited of battling with
Tal Hajus."

"We will stay, Tars Tarkas, and see Tal Hajus tonight. You shall not
sacrifice yourself, and it may be that tonight you can have the chance
you wait."

He objected strenuously, saying that Tal Hajus often flew into wild
fits of passion at the mere thought of the blow I had dealt him, and
that if ever he laid his hands upon me I would be subjected to the most
horrible tortures.

While we were eating I repeated to Tars Tarkas the story which Sola had
told me that night upon the sea bottom during the march to Thark.

He said but little, but the great muscles of his face worked in passion
and in agony at recollection of the horrors which had been heaped upon
the only thing he had ever loved in all his cold, cruel, terrible

He no longer demurred when I suggested that we go before Tal Hajus,
only saying that he would like to speak to Sarkoja first. At his
request I accompanied him to her quarters, and the look of venomous
hatred she cast upon me was almost adequate recompense for any future
misfortunes this accidental return to Thark might bring me.


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