A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 66

and is spelled in hieroglyphics which it
would be difficult and useless to reproduce.]

While I was much interested in Dejah Thoris' explanation of this
wonderful adjunct to Martian warfare, I was more concerned by the
immediate problem of their treatment of her. That they were keeping
her away from me was not a matter for surprise, but that they should
subject her to dangerous and arduous labor filled me with rage.

"Have they ever subjected you to cruelty and ignominy, Dejah Thoris?" I
asked, feeling the hot blood of my fighting ancestors leap in my veins
as I awaited her reply.

"Only in little ways, John Carter," she answered. "Nothing that can
harm me outside my pride. They know that I am the daughter of ten
thousand jeddaks, that I trace my ancestry straight back without a
break to the builder of the first great waterway, and they, who do not
even know their own mothers, are jealous of me. At heart they hate
their horrid fates, and so wreak their poor spite on me who stand for
everything they have not, and for all they most crave and never can
attain. Let us pity them, my chieftain, for even though we die at
their hands we can afford them pity, since we are greater than they and
they know it."

Had I known the significance of those words "my chieftain," as applied
by a red Martian woman to a man, I should have had the surprise of my
life, but I did not know at that time, nor for many months thereafter.
Yes, I still had much to learn upon Barsoom.

"I presume it is the better part of wisdom that we bow to our fate with
as good grace as possible, Dejah Thoris; but I hope, nevertheless, that
I may be present the next time that any Martian, green, red, pink, or
violet, has the temerity to even so much as frown on you, my princess."

Dejah Thoris caught her breath at my last words, and gazed upon me with
dilated eyes and quickening breath, and then, with an odd little laugh,
which brought roguish dimples to the corners of her mouth, she shook
her head and cried:

"What a child! A great warrior and yet a stumbling little child."

"What have I done now?" I asked, in sore perplexity.

"Some day you shall know, John Carter, if we live; but I may not tell
you. And I, the daughter of Mors Kajak, son of Tardos Mors, have
listened without anger," she soliloquized in conclusion.

Then she

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