The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

organs will be removed. The future kaldane will be
nothing but a great brain. Deaf, dumb, and blind it will lie sealed in
its buried vault far beneath the surface of Barsoom--just a great,
wonderful, beautiful brain with nothing to distract it from eternal

"You mean it will just lie there and think?" cried Tara of Helium.

"Just that!" he exclaimed. "Could aught be more wonderful?"

"Yes," replied the girl, "I can think of a number of things that would
be infinitely more wonderful."



What the creature had told her gave Tara of Helium food for thought.
She had been taught that every created thing fulfilled some useful
purpose, and she tried conscientiously to discover just what was the
rightful place of the kaldane in the universal scheme of things. She
knew that it must have its place but what that place was it was beyond
her to conceive. She had to give it up. They recalled to her mind a
little group of people in Helium who had forsworn the pleasures of life
in the pursuit of knowledge. They were rather patronizing in their
relations with those whom they thought not so intellectual. They
considered themselves quite superior. She smiled at recollection of a
remark her father had once made concerning them, to the effect that if
one of them ever dropped his egotism and broke it it would take a week
to fumigate Helium. Her father liked normal people--people who knew too
little and people who knew too much were equally a bore. Tara of Helium
was like her father in this respect and like him, too, she was both
sane and normal.

Outside of her personal danger there was much in this strange world
that interested her. The rykors aroused her keenest pity, and vast
conjecture. How and from what form had they evolved? She asked Ghek.

"Sing to me again and I will tell you," he said. "If Luud would let me
have you, you should never die. I should keep you always to sing to me."

The girl marvelled at the effect her voice had upon the creature.
Somewhere in that enormous brain there was a chord that was touched by
melody. It was the sole link between herself and the brain when
detached from the rykor. When it dominated the rykor it might have
other human instincts; but these she dreaded even to think of. After
she had sung she waited for Ghek to speak. For a long time he was
silent, just looking at her through those awful eyes.

"I wonder," he said presently,

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