A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 33

I could see Tars
Tarkas explaining something to the principal chieftain, whose name, by
the way, was, as nearly as I can translate it into English, Lorquas
Ptomel, Jed; jed being his title.

I was soon appraised of the subject of their conversation, as, calling
to Sola, Tars Tarkas signed for her to send me to him. I had by this
time mastered the intricacies of walking under Martian conditions, and
quickly responding to his command I advanced to the side of the
incubator where the warriors stood.

As I reached their side a glance showed me that all but a very few eggs
had hatched, the incubator being fairly alive with the hideous little
devils. They ranged in height from three to four feet, and were moving
restlessly about the enclosure as though searching for food.

As I came to a halt before him, Tars Tarkas pointed over the incubator
and said, "Sak." I saw that he wanted me to repeat my performance of
yesterday for the edification of Lorquas Ptomel, and, as I must confess
that my prowess gave me no little satisfaction, I responded quickly,
leaping entirely over the parked chariots on the far side of the
incubator. As I returned, Lorquas Ptomel grunted something at me, and
turning to his warriors gave a few words of command relative to the
incubator. They paid no further attention to me and I was thus
permitted to remain close and watch their operations, which consisted
in breaking an opening in the wall of the incubator large enough to
permit of the exit of the young Martians.

On either side of this opening the women and the younger Martians, both
male and female, formed two solid walls leading out through the
chariots and quite away into the plain beyond. Between these walls the
little Martians scampered, wild as deer; being permitted to run the
full length of the aisle, where they were captured one at a time by the
women and older children; the last in the line capturing the first
little one to reach the end of the gauntlet, her opposite in the line
capturing the second, and so on until all the little fellows had left
the enclosure and been appropriated by some youth or female. As the
women caught the young they fell out of line and returned to their
respective chariots, while those who fell into the hands of the young
men were later turned over to some of the women.

I saw that the ceremony, if it could be dignified by such a name,

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