A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 46

and unexpectedly bucked him off
headforemost into a pot of frijoles.

My laughter frightened Woola, his antics ceased and he crawled
pitifully toward me, poking his ugly head far into my lap; and then I
remembered what laughter signified on Mars--torture, suffering, death.
Quieting myself, I rubbed the poor old fellow's head and back, talked
to him for a few minutes, and then in an authoritative tone commanded
him to follow me, and arising started for the hills.

There was no further question of authority between us; Woola was my
devoted slave from that moment hence, and I his only and undisputed
master. My walk to the hills occupied but a few minutes, and I found
nothing of particular interest to reward me. Numerous brilliantly
colored and strangely formed wild flowers dotted the ravines and from
the summit of the first hill I saw still other hills stretching off
toward the north, and rising, one range above another, until lost in
mountains of quite respectable dimensions; though I afterward found
that only a few peaks on all Mars exceed four thousand feet in height;
the suggestion of magnitude was merely relative.

My morning's walk had been large with importance to me for it had
resulted in a perfect understanding with Woola, upon whom Tars Tarkas
relied for my safe keeping. I now knew that while theoretically a
prisoner I was virtually free, and I hastened to regain the city limits
before the defection of Woola could be discovered by his erstwhile
masters. The adventure decided me never again to leave the limits of
my prescribed stamping grounds until I was ready to venture forth for
good and all, as it would certainly result in a curtailment of my
liberties, as well as the probable death of Woola, were we to be
discovered.

On regaining the plaza I had my third glimpse of the captive girl. She
was standing with her guards before the entrance to the audience
chamber, and as I approached she gave me one haughty glance and turned
her back full upon me. The act was so womanly, so earthly womanly,
that though it stung my pride it also warmed my heart with a feeling of
companionship; it was good to know that someone else on Mars beside
myself had human instincts of a civilized order, even though the
manifestation of them was so painful and mortifying.

Had a green Martian woman desired to show dislike or contempt she
would, in all likelihood, have done it with a sword thrust or a
movement of her trigger finger; but as their

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