The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

"With the skin of a thern, the black hair of a First Born and
the muscles of a dozen Dators it was no disgrace even for Xodar to
acknowledge your supremacy. A thing he could never do were you a
Barsoomian," he added.

"You are travelling several laps ahead of me, my friend," I
interrupted. "I glean that your name is Xodar, but whom, pray, are the
First Born, and what a Dator, and why, if you were conquered by a
Barsoomian, could you not acknowledge it?"

"The First Born of Barsoom," he explained, "are the race of black men
of which I am a Dator, or, as the lesser Barsoomians would say, Prince.
My race is the oldest on the planet. We trace our lineage, unbroken,
direct to the Tree of Life which flourished in the centre of the Valley
Dor twenty-three million years ago.

"For countless ages the fruit of this tree underwent the gradual
changes of evolution, passing by degrees from true plant life to a
combination of plant and animal. In the first stages the fruit of the
tree possessed only the power of independent muscular action, while the
stem remained attached to the parent plant; later a brain developed in
the fruit, so that hanging there by their long stems they thought and
moved as individuals.

"Then, with the development of perceptions came a comparison of them;
judgments were reached and compared, and thus reason and the power to
reason were born upon Barsoom.

"Ages passed. Many forms of life came and went upon the Tree of Life,
but still all were attached to the parent plant by stems of varying
lengths. At length the fruit tree consisted in tiny plant men, such as
we now see reproduced in such huge dimensions in the Valley Dor, but
still hanging to the limbs and branches of the tree by the stems which
grew from the tops of their heads.

"The buds from which the plant men blossomed resembled large nuts about
a foot in diameter, divided by double partition walls into four
sections. In one section grew the plant man, in another a
sixteen-legged worm, in the third the progenitor of the white ape and
in the fourth the primaeval black man of Barsoom.

"When the bud burst the plant man remained dangling at the end of his
stem, but the three other sections fell to the ground, where the
efforts of their imprisoned occupants to escape sent them hopping about
in all directions.

"Thus as time went on, all Barsoom was covered with these imprisoned

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