A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

his chieftains during some awful
torture she was undergoing.

"I learned afterwards that she told them that she had killed me to save
me from a like fate at their hands, and that she had thrown my body to
the white apes. Sarkoja alone disbelieved her, and I feel to this day
that she suspects my true origin, but does not dare expose me, at the
present, at all events, because she also guesses, I am sure, the
identity of my father.

"When he returned from his expedition and learned the story of my
mother's fate I was present as Tal Hajus told him; but never by the
quiver of a muscle did he betray the slightest emotion; only he did not
laugh as Tal Hajus gleefully described her death struggles. From that
moment on he was the cruelest of the cruel, and I am awaiting the day
when he shall win the goal of his ambition, and feel the carcass of Tal
Hajus beneath his foot, for I am as sure that he but waits the
opportunity to wreak a terrible vengeance, and that his great love is
as strong in his breast as when it first transfigured him nearly forty
years ago, as I am that we sit here upon the edge of a world-old ocean
while sensible people sleep, John Carter."

"And your father, Sola, is he with us now?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied, "but he does not know me for what I am, nor does he
know who betrayed my mother to Tal Hajus. I alone know my father's
name, and only I and Tal Hajus and Sarkoja know that it was she who
carried the tale that brought death and torture upon her he loved."

We sat silent for a few moments, she wrapped in the gloomy thoughts of
her terrible past, and I in pity for the poor creatures whom the
heartless, senseless customs of their race had doomed to loveless lives
of cruelty and of hate. Presently she spoke.

"John Carter, if ever a real man walked the cold, dead bosom of Barsoom
you are one. I know that I can trust you, and because the knowledge
may someday help you or him or Dejah Thoris or myself, I am going to
tell you the name of my father, nor place any restrictions or
conditions upon your tongue. When the time comes, speak the truth if
it seems best to you. I trust you because I know that you are not
cursed with the terrible trait of absolute and

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