A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 23

lack of consideration for a stranger's
rights; I swung my fist squarely to his jaw and he went down like a
felled ox. As he sunk to the floor I wheeled around with my back
toward the nearest desk, expecting to be overwhelmed by the vengeance
of his fellows, but determined to give them as good a battle as the
unequal odds would permit before I gave up my life.

My fears were groundless, however, as the other Martians, at first
struck dumb with wonderment, finally broke into wild peals of laughter
and applause. I did not recognize the applause as such, but later,
when I had become acquainted with their customs, I learned that I had
won what they seldom accord, a manifestation of approbation.

The fellow whom I had struck lay where he had fallen, nor did any of
his mates approach him. Tars Tarkas advanced toward me, holding out
one of his arms, and we thus proceeded to the plaza without further
mishap. I did not, of course, know the reason for which we had come to
the open, but I was not long in being enlightened. They first repeated
the word "sak" a number of times, and then Tars Tarkas made several
jumps, repeating the same word before each leap; then, turning to me,
he said, "sak!" I saw what they were after, and gathering myself
together I "sakked" with such marvelous success that I cleared a good
hundred and fifty feet; nor did I, this time, lose my equilibrium, but
landed squarely upon my feet without falling. I then returned by easy
jumps of twenty-five or thirty feet to the little group of warriors.

My exhibition had been witnessed by several hundred lesser Martians,
and they immediately broke into demands for a repetition, which the
chieftain then ordered me to make; but I was both hungry and thirsty,
and determined on the spot that my only method of salvation was to
demand the consideration from these creatures which they evidently
would not voluntarily accord. I therefore ignored the repeated
commands to "sak," and each time they were made I motioned to my mouth
and rubbed my stomach.

Tars Tarkas and the chief exchanged a few words, and the former,
calling to a young female among the throng, gave her some instructions
and motioned me to accompany her. I grasped her proffered arm and
together we crossed the plaza toward a large building on the far side.

My fair companion was about eight feet tall, having just arrived at
maturity, but not yet

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