A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 45

the city. Before me were low hills
pierced by narrow and inviting ravines. I longed to explore the
country before me, and, like the pioneer stock from which I sprang, to
view what the landscape beyond the encircling hills might disclose from
the summits which shut out my view.

It also occurred to me that this would prove an excellent opportunity
to test the qualities of Woola. I was convinced that the brute loved
me; I had seen more evidences of affection in him than in any other
Martian animal, man or beast, and I was sure that gratitude for the
acts that had twice saved his life would more than outweigh his loyalty
to the duty imposed upon him by cruel and loveless masters.

As I approached the boundary line Woola ran anxiously before me, and
thrust his body against my legs. His expression was pleading rather
than ferocious, nor did he bare his great tusks or utter his fearful
guttural warnings. Denied the friendship and companionship of my kind,
I had developed considerable affection for Woola and Sola, for the
normal earthly man must have some outlet for his natural affections,
and so I decided upon an appeal to a like instinct in this great brute,
sure that I would not be disappointed.

I had never petted nor fondled him, but now I sat upon the ground and
putting my arms around his heavy neck I stroked and coaxed him, talking
in my newly acquired Martian tongue as I would have to my hound at
home, as I would have talked to any other friend among the lower
animals. His response to my manifestation of affection was remarkable
to a degree; he stretched his great mouth to its full width, baring the
entire expanse of his upper rows of tusks and wrinkling his snout until
his great eyes were almost hidden by the folds of flesh. If you have
ever seen a collie smile you may have some idea of Woola's facial
distortion.

He threw himself upon his back and fairly wallowed at my feet; jumped
up and sprang upon me, rolling me upon the ground by his great weight;
then wriggling and squirming around me like a playful puppy presenting
its back for the petting it craves. I could not resist the
ludicrousness of the spectacle, and holding my sides I rocked back and
forth in the first laughter which had passed my lips in many days; the
first, in fact, since the morning Powell had left camp when his horse,
long unused, had precipitately

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