A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 24

to her full height. She was of a light
olive-green color, with a smooth, glossy hide. Her name, as I
afterward learned, was Sola, and she belonged to the retinue of Tars
Tarkas. She conducted me to a spacious chamber in one of the buildings
fronting on the plaza, and which, from the litter of silks and furs
upon the floor, I took to be the sleeping quarters of several of the
natives.

The room was well lighted by a number of large windows and was
beautifully decorated with mural paintings and mosaics, but upon all
there seemed to rest that indefinable touch of the finger of antiquity
which convinced me that the architects and builders of these wondrous
creations had nothing in common with the crude half-brutes which now
occupied them.

Sola motioned me to be seated upon a pile of silks near the center of
the room, and, turning, made a peculiar hissing sound, as though
signaling to someone in an adjoining room. In response to her call I
obtained my first sight of a new Martian wonder. It waddled in on its
ten short legs, and squatted down before the girl like an obedient
puppy. The thing was about the size of a Shetland pony, but its head
bore a slight resemblance to that of a frog, except that the jaws were
equipped with three rows of long, sharp tusks.




CHAPTER V

I ELUDE MY WATCH DOG


Sola stared into the brute's wicked-looking eyes, muttered a word or
two of command, pointed to me, and left the chamber. I could not but
wonder what this ferocious-looking monstrosity might do when left alone
in such close proximity to such a relatively tender morsel of meat; but
my fears were groundless, as the beast, after surveying me intently for
a moment, crossed the room to the only exit which led to the street,
and lay down full length across the threshold.

This was my first experience with a Martian watch dog, but it was
destined not to be my last, for this fellow guarded me carefully during
the time I remained a captive among these green men; twice saving my
life, and never voluntarily being away from me a moment.

While Sola was away I took occasion to examine more minutely the room
in which I found myself captive. The mural painting depicted scenes of
rare and wonderful beauty; mountains, rivers, lake, ocean, meadow,
trees and flowers, winding roadways, sun-kissed gardens--scenes which
might have portrayed earthly views but for the different colorings of
the vegetation. The work had evidently

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