Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 63

most consistent and dangerous foe.

It is a huge, white-furred creature with six limbs, four of which,
short and heavy, carry it swiftly over the snow and ice; while the
other two, growing forward from its shoulders on either side of
its long, powerful neck, terminate in white, hairless hands, with
which it seizes and holds its prey.

Its head and mouth are more similar in appearance to those of a
hippopotamus than to any other earthly animal, except that from
the sides of the lower jawbone two mighty horns curve slightly
downward toward the front.

Its two huge eyes inspired my greatest curiosity. They extend in
two vast, oval patches from the center of the top of the cranium
down either side of the head to below the roots of the horns, so
that these weapons really grow out from the lower part of the eyes,
which are composed of several thousand ocelli each.

This eye structure seemed remarkable in a beast whose haunts were
upon a glaring field of ice and snow, and though I found upon
minute examination of several that we killed that each ocellus is
furnished with its own lid, and that the animal can at will close
as many of the facets of his huge eyes as he chooses, yet I was
positive that nature had thus equipped him because much of his life
was to be spent in dark, subterranean recesses.

Shortly after this we came upon the hugest apt that we had seen.
The creature stood fully eight feet at the shoulder, and was so
sleek and clean and glossy that I could have sworn that he had but
recently been groomed.

He stood head-on eyeing us as we approached him, for we had found
it a waste of time to attempt to escape the perpetual bestial rage
which seems to possess these demon creatures, who rove the dismal
north attacking every living thing that comes within the scope of
their far-seeing eyes.

Even when their bellies are full and they can eat no more, they
kill purely for the pleasure which they derive from taking life,
and so when this particular apt failed to charge us, and instead
wheeled and trotted away as we neared him, I should have been greatly
surprised had I not chanced to glimpse the sheen of a golden collar
about its neck.

Thuvan Dihn saw it, too, and it carried the same message of hope
to us both. Only man could have placed that collar there, and as
no race of Martians of which we knew aught ever had attempted to
domesticate the ferocious

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