A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 73

my arrival on
Mars.

Tars Tarkas dismounted and examined the enclosure minutely, finally
announcing that it belonged to the green men of Warhoon and that the
cement was scarcely dry where it had been walled up.

"They cannot be a day's march ahead of us," he exclaimed, the light of
battle leaping to his fierce face.

The work at the incubator was short indeed. The warriors tore open the
entrance and a couple of them, crawling in, soon demolished all the
eggs with their short-swords. Then remounting we dashed back to join
the cavalcade. During the ride I took occasion to ask Tars Tarkas if
these Warhoons whose eggs we had destroyed were a smaller people than
his Tharks.

"I noticed that their eggs were so much smaller than those I saw
hatching in your incubator," I added.

He explained that the eggs had just been placed there; but, like all
green Martian eggs, they would grow during the five-year period of
incubation until they obtained the size of those I had seen hatching on
the day of my arrival on Barsoom. This was indeed an interesting piece
of information, for it had always seemed remarkable to me that the
green Martian women, large as they were, could bring forth such
enormous eggs as I had seen the four-foot infants emerging from. As a
matter of fact, the new-laid egg is but little larger than an ordinary
goose egg, and as it does not commence to grow until subjected to the
light of the sun the chieftains have little difficulty in transporting
several hundreds of them at one time from the storage vaults to the
incubators.

Shortly after the incident of the Warhoon eggs we halted to rest the
animals, and it was during this halt that the second of the day's
interesting episodes occurred. I was engaged in changing my riding
cloths from one of my thoats to the other, for I divided the day's work
between them, when Zad approached me, and without a word struck my
animal a terrific blow with his long-sword.

I did not need a manual of green Martian etiquette to know what reply
to make, for, in fact, I was so wild with anger that I could scarcely
refrain from drawing my pistol and shooting him down for the brute he
was; but he stood waiting with drawn long-sword, and my only choice was
to draw my own and meet him in fair fight with his choice of weapons or
a lesser one.

This latter alternative is always permissible, therefore I could have
used my short-sword, my

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