the plant men and the great white apes that
guard the Temple of Issus and falls into the remorseless clutches of
the therns; or, as was my misfortune, is coveted by the Holy Thern who
chances to be upon watch in the balcony above the river where it issues
from the bowels of the mountains through the cliffs of gold to empty
into the Lost Sea of Korus.
"All who reach the Valley Dor are, by custom, the rightful prey of the
plant men and the apes, while their arms and ornaments become the
portion of the therns; but if one escapes the terrible denizens of the
valley for even a few hours the therns may claim such a one as their
own. And again the Holy Thern on watch, should he see a victim he
covets, often tramples upon the rights of the unreasoning brutes of the
valley and takes his prize by foul means if he cannot gain it by fair.
"It is said that occasionally some deluded victim of Barsoomian
superstition will so far escape the clutches of the countless enemies
that beset his path from the moment that he emerges from the
subterranean passage through which the Iss flows for a thousand miles
before it enters the Valley Dor as to reach the very walls of the
Temple of Issus; but what fate awaits one there not even the Holy
Therns may guess, for who has passed within those gilded walls never
has returned to unfold the mysteries they have held since the beginning
"The Temple of Issus is to the therns what the Valley Dor is imagined
by the peoples of the outer world to be to them; it is the ultimate
haven of peace, refuge, and happiness to which they pass after this
life and wherein an eternity of eternities is spent amidst the delights
of the flesh which appeal most strongly to this race of mental giants
and moral pygmies."
"The Temple of Issus is, I take it, a heaven within a heaven," I said.
"Let us hope that there it will be meted to the therns as they have
meted it here unto others."
"Who knows?" the girl murmured.
"The therns, I judge from what you have said, are no less mortal than
we; and yet have I always heard them spoken of with the utmost awe and
reverence by the people of Barsoom, as one might speak of the gods
"The therns are mortal," she replied. "They die from the same causes
as you or I might: those who do not live their
The erudite gentleman in whom I confided congealed before I was half through!--it is all that saved him from exploding--and my dreams of an Honorary Fellowship, gold medals, and a niche in the Hall of Fame faded into the thin, cold air of his arctic atmosphere.Page 1
I looked over his plans, listened to his arguments, inspected his working model--and then, convinced, I advanced the funds necessary to construct a full-sized, practical prospector.Page 17
Pinched, pounded, and thumped until I was black and blue, yet I do not think that their treatment was dictated by either cruelty or malice--I was a curiosity, a freak, a new plaything, and their childish minds required the added evidence of all their senses to back up the testimony of their eyes.Page 19
We have been here for many hours--yet it is still noon.Page 43
For a while the man and woman busied themselves only with keeping out of the way of the two creatures, but finally I saw them separate and each creep stealthily toward one of the combatants.Page 46
In its quieter pools I discovered many small fish, of four-or five-pound weight I should imagine.Page 50
I do not know.Page 51
The skill with which he handled his crude and awkward craft elicited my deepest admiration, since it had been so short a time before that I had made such pitiful work of it.Page 57
The Mahars watched the surface of the water for the reappearance of their queen, and presently at one end of the tank her head rose slowly into view.Page 58
" "Why should they object to eating human flesh," I asked, "if it is true that they look upon us as lower animals?" "It is not because they consider us their equals that they are supposed to look with abhorrence upon those who eat our flesh," replied Ja; "it is merely that we are warm-blooded animals.Page 61
which might serve to guide me in a straight line.Page 67
At the edges, so.Page 68
It was plain to see that the human folk of this inner world had not advanced far in learning, and the thought that the ugly Mahars had so outstripped them was a very pathetic one indeed.Page 74
At the doorway I was turned over to the guards there.Page 75
I must have been away for months, Perry, and now you barely look up from your work when I return and insist that we have been separated but a moment.Page 84
For a long moment I stood perfectly still, eyeing the fellow with those dead eyes.Page 85
Yes, and love.Page 87
The Sagoths were now not over two hundred and fifty yards behind us, and I saw that it was hopeless for us to expect to escape other than by a ruse.Page 107
She said that I mustn't exercise, or it might prove fatal--if it had been a full-grown snake that struck me she said, I wouldn't have moved a single pace from the nest--I'd have died in my tracks, so virulent is the poison.Page 109
Roughly, the various kingdoms were to remain virtually independent, but there was to be one great overlord, or emperor.