The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80


"Fortunate indeed are those in which there is combined a little good
and a little bad, a little knowledge of many things outside their own
callings, a capacity for love and a capacity for hate, for such as
these can look with tolerance upon all, unbiased by the egotism of him
whose head is so heavy on one side that all his brains run to that

As Gahan ceased speaking Ghek made a little noise in his throat as one
does who would attract attention. "You speak as one who has thought
much upon many subjects. Is it, then, possible that you of the red race
have pleasure in thought? Do you know aught of the joys of
introspection? Do reason and logic form any part of your lives?"

"Most assuredly," replied Gahan, "but not to the extent of occupying
all our time--at least not objectively. You, Ghek, are an example of
the egotism of which I spoke. Because you and your kind devote your
lives to the worship of mind, you believe that no other created beings
think. And possibly we do not in the sense that you do, who think only
of yourselves and your great brains. We think of many things that
concern the welfare of a world. Had it not been for the red men of
Barsoom even the kaldanes had perished from the planet, for while you
may live without air the things upon which you depend for existence
cannot, and there had been no air in sufficient quantities upon Barsoom
these many ages had not a red man planned and built the great
atmosphere plant which gave new life to a dying world.

"What have all the brains of all the kaldanes that have ever lived done
to compare with that single idea of a single red man?"

Ghek was stumped. Being a kaldane he knew that brains spelled the sum
total of universal achievement, but it had never occurred to him that
they should be put to use in practical and profitable ways. He turned
away and looked down upon the valley of his ancestors across which he
was slowly drifting, into what unknown world? He should be a veritable
god among the underlings, he knew; but somehow a doubt assailed him. It
was evident that these two from that other world were ready to question
his preeminence. Even through his great egotism was filtering a
suspicion that they patronized him; perhaps even pitied him. Then he
began to wonder what was to become of him. No longer would he have many
rykors to do his bidding.

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