The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

in the direction from which the sound seemed to come,
and at the same instant every particular snake-like hair upon their
heads rose stiffly perpendicular as if each had been a sentient
organism looking or listening for the source or meaning of the wail.
And indeed the latter proved to be the truth, for this strange growth
upon the craniums of the plant men of Barsoom represents the thousand
ears of these hideous creatures, the last remnant of the strange race
which sprang from the original Tree of Life.

Instantly every eye turned toward one member of the herd, a large
fellow who evidently was the leader. A strange purring sound issued
from the mouth in the palm of one of his hands, and at the same time he
started rapidly toward the bluff, followed by the entire herd.

Their speed and method of locomotion were both remarkable, springing as
they did in great leaps of twenty or thirty feet, much after the manner
of a kangaroo.

They were rapidly disappearing when it occurred to me to follow them,
and so, hurling caution to the winds, I sprang across the meadow in
their wake with leaps and bounds even more prodigious than their own,
for the muscles of an athletic Earth man produce remarkable results
when pitted against the lesser gravity and air pressure of Mars.

Their way led directly towards the apparent source of the river at the
base of the cliffs, and as I neared this point I found the meadow
dotted with huge boulders that the ravages of time had evidently
dislodged from the towering crags above.

For this reason I came quite close to the cause of the disturbance
before the scene broke upon my horrified gaze. As I topped a great
boulder I saw the herd of plant men surrounding a little group of
perhaps five or six green men and women of Barsoom.

That I was indeed upon Mars I now had no doubt, for here were members
of the wild hordes that people the dead sea bottoms and deserted cities
of that dying planet.

Here were the great males towering in all the majesty of their imposing
height; here were the gleaming white tusks protruding from their
massive lower jaws to a point near the centre of their foreheads, the
laterally placed, protruding eyes with which they could look forward or
backward, or to either side without turning their heads, here the
strange antennae-like ears rising from the tops of their foreheads; and
the additional pair of arms extending from midway between the shoulders
and the hips.

Even without the

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