A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 22


At the time, this ceremony and the words they uttered meant nothing to
me, but later I came to know that this was the customary greeting
between green Martians. Had the men been strangers, and therefore
unable to exchange names, they would have silently exchanged ornaments,
had their missions been peaceful--otherwise they would have exchanged
shots, or have fought out their introduction with some other of their
various weapons.

My captor, whose name was Tars Tarkas, was virtually the vice-chieftain
of the community, and a man of great ability as a statesman and
warrior. He evidently explained briefly the incidents connected with
his expedition, including my capture, and when he had concluded the
chieftain addressed me at some length.

I replied in our good old English tongue merely to convince him that
neither of us could understand the other; but I noticed that when I
smiled slightly on concluding, he did likewise. This fact, and the
similar occurrence during my first talk with Tars Tarkas, convinced me
that we had at least something in common; the ability to smile,
therefore to laugh; denoting a sense of humor. But I was to learn that
the Martian smile is merely perfunctory, and that the Martian laugh is
a thing to cause strong men to blanch in horror.

The ideas of humor among the green men of Mars are widely at variance
with our conceptions of incitants to merriment. The death agonies of a
fellow being are, to these strange creatures, provocative of the wildest
hilarity, while their chief form of commonest amusement is to inflict
death on their prisoners of war in various ingenious and horrible ways.

The assembled warriors and chieftains examined me closely, feeling my
muscles and the texture of my skin. The principal chieftain then
evidently signified a desire to see me perform, and, motioning me to
follow, he started with Tars Tarkas for the open plaza.

Now, I had made no attempt to walk, since my first signal failure,
except while tightly grasping Tars Tarkas' arm, and so now I went
skipping and flitting about among the desks and chairs like some
monstrous grasshopper. After bruising myself severely, much to the
amusement of the Martians, I again had recourse to creeping, but this
did not suit them and I was roughly jerked to my feet by a towering
fellow who had laughed most heartily at my misfortunes.

As he banged me down upon my feet his face was bent close to mine and I
did the only thing a gentleman might do under the circumstances of
brutality, boorishness, and

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the following changes to the text: PAGE LINE ORIGINAL CHANGED TO 10 12 of or 14 19 of animals life of animals 31 26 is arms his arms 37 14 above this above his 37 23 Bradley, Bradley 54 18 man man 57 14 and of Oo-oh of Oo-oh 62 18 spend spent 63 31 and mumbled the mumbled 64 9 things thing 80 30 east cast 104 16 proaching proached 106 30 cos-at-lu cos-ata-lu 126 17 not artistic not an artistic 126 25 close below hands close below 130 1 internals intervals 132 9 than .