A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 25

been wrought by a master hand,
so subtle the atmosphere, so perfect the technique; yet nowhere was
there a representation of a living animal, either human or brute, by
which I could guess at the likeness of these other and perhaps extinct
denizens of Mars.

While I was allowing my fancy to run riot in wild conjecture on the
possible explanation of the strange anomalies which I had so far met
with on Mars, Sola returned bearing both food and drink. These she
placed on the floor beside me, and seating herself a short ways off
regarded me intently. The food consisted of about a pound of some
solid substance of the consistency of cheese and almost tasteless,
while the liquid was apparently milk from some animal. It was not
unpleasant to the taste, though slightly acid, and I learned in a short
time to prize it very highly. It came, as I later discovered, not from
an animal, as there is only one mammal on Mars and that one very rare
indeed, but from a large plant which grows practically without water,
but seems to distill its plentiful supply of milk from the products of
the soil, the moisture of the air, and the rays of the sun. A single
plant of this species will give eight or ten quarts of milk per day.

After I had eaten I was greatly invigorated, but feeling the need of
rest I stretched out upon the silks and was soon asleep. I must have
slept several hours, as it was dark when I awoke, and I was very cold.
I noticed that someone had thrown a fur over me, but it had become
partially dislodged and in the darkness I could not see to replace it.
Suddenly a hand reached out and pulled the fur over me, shortly
afterwards adding another to my covering.

I presumed that my watchful guardian was Sola, nor was I wrong. This
girl alone, among all the green Martians with whom I came in contact,
disclosed characteristics of sympathy, kindliness, and affection; her
ministrations to my bodily wants were unfailing, and her solicitous
care saved me from much suffering and many hardships.

As I was to learn, the Martian nights are extremely cold, and as there
is practically no twilight or dawn, the changes in temperature are
sudden and most uncomfortable, as are the transitions from brilliant
daylight to darkness. The nights are either brilliantly illumined or
very dark, for if neither of the two moons of Mars happen to be in the
sky almost

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