A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 78

was the first march of a large body of
men and animals I had ever witnessed which raised no dust and left no
spoor; for there is no dust upon Mars except in the cultivated
districts during the winter months, and even then the absence of high
winds renders it almost unnoticeable.

We camped that night at the foot of the hills we had been approaching
for two days and which marked the southern boundary of this particular
sea. Our animals had been two days without drink, nor had they had
water for nearly two months, not since shortly after leaving Thark;
but, as Tars Tarkas explained to me, they require but little and can
live almost indefinitely upon the moss which covers Barsoom, and which,
he told me, holds in its tiny stems sufficient moisture to meet the
limited demands of the animals.

After partaking of my evening meal of cheese-like food and vegetable
milk I sought out Sola, whom I found working by the light of a torch
upon some of Tars Tarkas' trappings. She looked up at my approach, her
face lighting with pleasure and with welcome.

"I am glad you came," she said; "Dejah Thoris sleeps and I am lonely.
Mine own people do not care for me, John Carter; I am too unlike them.
It is a sad fate, since I must live my life amongst them, and I often
wish that I were a true green Martian woman, without love and without
hope; but I have known love and so I am lost.

"I promised to tell you my story, or rather the story of my parents.
From what I have learned of you and the ways of your people I am sure
that the tale will not seem strange to you, but among green Martians it
has no parallel within the memory of the oldest living Thark, nor do
our legends hold many similar tales.

"My mother was rather small, in fact too small to be allowed the
responsibilities of maternity, as our chieftains breed principally for
size. She was also less cold and cruel than most green Martian women,
and caring little for their society, she often roamed the deserted
avenues of Thark alone, or went and sat among the wild flowers that
deck the nearby hills, thinking thoughts and wishing wishes which I
believe I alone among Tharkian women today may understand, for am I not
the child of my mother?

"And there among the hills she met a young warrior, whose duty it was
to guard the feeding zitidars and thoats and see

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