A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

less than half as tall as the green Martian warriors, and
from my balcony I could see that it walked erect upon two legs and
surmised that it was some new and strange Martian monstrosity with
which I had not as yet become acquainted.

They removed their prisoner to the ground and then commenced a
systematic rifling of the vessel. This operation required several
hours, during which time a number of the chariots were requisitioned to
transport the loot, which consisted in arms, ammunition, silks, furs,
jewels, strangely carved stone vessels, and a quantity of solid foods
and liquids, including many casks of water, the first I had seen since
my advent upon Mars.

After the last load had been removed the warriors made lines fast to
the craft and towed her far out into the valley in a southwesterly
direction. A few of them then boarded her and were busily engaged in
what appeared, from my distant position, as the emptying of the
contents of various carboys upon the dead bodies of the sailors and
over the decks and works of the vessel.

This operation concluded, they hastily clambered over her sides,
sliding down the guy ropes to the ground. The last warrior to leave
the deck turned and threw something back upon the vessel, waiting an
instant to note the outcome of his act. As a faint spurt of flame rose
from the point where the missile struck he swung over the side and was
quickly upon the ground. Scarcely had he alighted than the guy ropes
were simultaneously released, and the great warship, lightened by the
removal of the loot, soared majestically into the air, her decks and
upper works a mass of roaring flames.

Slowly she drifted to the southeast, rising higher and higher as the
flames ate away her wooden parts and diminished the weight upon her.
Ascending to the roof of the building I watched her for hours, until
finally she was lost in the dim vistas of the distance. The sight was
awe-inspiring in the extreme as one contemplated this mighty floating
funeral pyre, drifting unguided and unmanned through the lonely wastes
of the Martian heavens; a derelict of death and destruction, typifying
the life story of these strange and ferocious creatures into whose
unfriendly hands fate had carried it.

Much depressed, and, to me, unaccountably so, I slowly descended to the
street. The scene I had witnessed seemed to mark the defeat and
annihilation of the forces of a kindred people, rather than the routing
by our green warriors of a horde of

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