The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 1

the noble features--I recognized them at once,
and leaping to my feet I advanced with outstretched hand.

"John Carter!" I cried. "You?"

"None other, my son," he replied, taking my hand in one of his and
placing the other upon my shoulder.

"And what are you doing here?" I asked. "It has been long years since
you revisited Earth, and never before in the trappings of Mars. Lord!
but it is good to see you--and not a day older in appearance than when
you trotted me on your knee in my babyhood. How do you explain it, John
Carter, Warlord of Mars, or do you try to explain it?"

"Why attempt to explain the inexplicable?" he replied. "As I have told
you before, I am a very old man. I do not know how old I am. I recall
no childhood; but recollect only having been always as you see me now
and as you saw me first when you were five years old. You, yourself,
have aged, though not as much as most men in a corresponding number of
years, which may be accounted for by the fact that the same blood runs
in our veins; but I have not aged at all. I have discussed the question
with a noted Martian scientist, a friend of mine; but his theories are
still only theories. However, I am content with the fact--I never age,
and I love life and the vigor of youth.

"And now as to your natural question as to what brings me to Earth
again and in this, to earthly eyes, strange habiliment. We may thank
Kar Komak, the bowman of Lothar. It was he who gave me the idea upon
which I have been experimenting until at last I have achieved success.
As you know I have long possessed the power to cross the void in
spirit, but never before have I been able to impart to inanimate things
a similar power. Now, however, you see me for the first time precisely
as my Martian fellows see me--you see the very short-sword that has
tasted the blood of many a savage foeman; the harness with the devices
of Helium and the insignia of my rank; the pistol that was presented to
me by Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark.

"Aside from seeing you, which is my principal reason for being here,
and satisfying myself that I can transport inanimate things from Mars
to Earth, and therefore animate things if I so desire, I have no
purpose. Earth is not for me. My every interest is upon Barsoom--my
wife, my children, my work;

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