A BOY AND A DOG
There they were, the three little bugs which always accompanied the
And so he progressed very, very slowly, for it was a hard and laborious
task which he had set himself without knowing it--a task which might
seem to you or me impossible--learning to read without having the
slightest knowledge of letters or written language, or the faintest
idea that such things existed.
He did not accomplish it in a day, or in a week, or in a month, or in a
year; but slowly, very slowly, he learned after he had grasped the
possibilities which lay in those little bugs, so that by the time he
was fifteen he knew the various combinations of letters which stood for
every pictured figure in the little primer and in one or two of the
Of the meaning and use of the articles and conjunctions, verbs and
adverbs and pronouns he had but the faintest conception.
One day when he was about twelve he found a number of lead pencils in a
hitherto undiscovered drawer beneath the table, and in scratching upon
the table top with one of them he was delighted to discover the black
line it left behind it.
He worked so assiduously with this new toy that the table top was soon
a mass of scrawly loops and irregular lines and his pencil-point worn
down to the wood. Then he took another pencil, but this time he had a
definite object in view.
He would attempt to reproduce some of the little bugs that scrambled
over the pages of his books.
It was a difficult task, for he held the pencil as one would grasp the
hilt of a dagger, which does not add greatly to ease in writing or to
the legibility of the results.
But he persevered for months, at such times as he was able to come to
the cabin, until at last by repeated experimenting he found a position
in which to hold the pencil that best permitted him to guide and
control it, so that at last he could roughly reproduce any of the
Thus he made a beginning of writing.
Copying the bugs taught him another thing--their number; and though he
could not count as we understand it, yet he had an idea of quantity,
the base of his calculations being the number of fingers upon one of
His search through the various books convinced him that he had
discovered all the different kinds of bugs most often repeated in
combination, and these he
Over a year had elapsed since they had set out to explore the northern hemisphere in search of Carthoris, and at last their disheartened people had accepted as truth the vague rumors of their death that had filtered in from the frozen region of the pole.Page 6
Several times Thurid pointed across the river in my direction, but that his gestures had any reference to me I did not for a moment believe.Page 23
Casual curiosity prompted me to decipher them, but what I read carried no immediate meaning to my mind.Page 38
From books and travelers I had learned something of the little-known land of Kaol, which lies along the equator almost halfway round the planet to the east of Helium.Page 40
Occasionally we caught glimpses of horrid beasts all during the day; but, fortunately, we were never far from a sward island, and when they saw us their pursuit always ended at the verge of the solid sod.Page 44
"I wish you fortune," and vaulting to the back of his thoat he trotted away without even a backward glance.Page 45
And smooth! Polished glass could not be more so.Page 46
In another moment the gate would be opened and the head of the column pass out upon the death-bordered highway.Page 55
"Years ago, Kulan Tith," he continued, "upon the occasion of your last visit to me, you were greatly taken with the charms and graces of my only daughter, Thuvia.Page 61
Two days later the flier rested upon the top of the watchtower, ready to depart.Page 67
From where we stood we saw that the fighting among the apts was growing less, and that many that had been feeding had ceased and lain down to sleep.Page 69
Beyond the last cave we emerged into a desolate country of snow and ice, but found a well-marked trail leading north.Page 86
A great number of nobles crowded the room, and among them I saw Thurid, but Matai Shang was not there.Page 93
Thus it was that the signs upon the paper, if in reality they were words, baffled me for some time; but at last I made out the first one.Page 99
I could hear nothing beyond, and, with my accustomed rashness, pushed the portal wide to step into a room filled with yellow warriors.Page 100
Of such stuff are the men of my beloved Helium, and when I meet another of their kind, of whatever race or color, my heart goes out to him as it did now to my new friend who had risked his life for me simply because I wore the mate to the ring.Page 108
There sat the old man at his table; but as he saw me he sprang to his feet, drawing his sword.Page 110
The result of the sudden coming of the guardsmen had been to compel me to seek seclusion in the first passageway that I could find, and that to my disappointment proved to be not the one with which I was familiar, but another upon its left.Page 113
would not be unlike her to have seized a sword and fought at my side, for, though the women of Mars are not trained in the arts of war, the spirit is theirs, and they have been known to do that very thing upon countless occasions.Page 126
I did not need to ask to know what had sent them thither--the courageous jeddak and his loyal daughter.