have the dead of this fabled
land been carried to the Carrion Caves, that in death and decay they
might serve their country and warn away invading enemies. Here,
too, is brought, so the fable runs, all the waste stuff of the
nation--everything that is subject to rot, and that can add to the
foul stench that assails our nostrils.
"And death lurks at every step among rotting dead, for here the fierce
apts lair, adding to the putrid accumulation with the fragments of
their own prey which they cannot devour. It is a horrid avenue to
our goal, but it is the only one."
"You are sure, then, that we have found the way to the land of the
yellow men?" I cried.
"As sure as may be," he replied; "having only ancient legend to
support my belief. But see how closely, so far, each detail tallies
with the world-old story of the hegira of the yellow race. Yes,
I am sure that we have discovered the way to their ancient hiding
"If it be true, and let us pray that such may be the case," I said,
"then here may we solve the mystery of the disappearance of Tardos
Mors, Jeddak of Helium, and Mors Kajak, his son, for no other spot
upon Barsoom has remained unexplored by the many expeditions and
the countless spies that have been searching for them for nearly
two years. The last word that came from them was that they sought
Carthoris, my own brave son, beyond the ice-barrier."
As we talked we had been approaching the entrance to the cave, and
as we crossed the threshold I ceased to wonder that the ancient
green enemies of the yellow men had been halted by the horrors of
that awful way.
The bones of dead men lay man high upon the broad floor of the first
cave, and over all was a putrid mush of decaying flesh, through
which the apts had beaten a hideous trail toward the entrance to
the second cave beyond.
The roof of this first apartment was low, like all that we traversed
subsequently, so that the foul odors were confined and condensed
to such an extent that they seemed to possess tangible substance.
One was almost tempted to draw his short-sword and hew his way
through in search of pure air beyond.
"Can man breathe this polluted air and live?" asked Thuvan Dihn,
"Not for long, I imagine," I replied; "so let us make haste. I
will go first, and you bring up the rear, with Woola between.
Come," and with the
While I was still speculating upon the phenomenon, my attention was suddenly riveted upon Thurid, who had raised both palms forward above his head in the universal salute of Martians, and a moment later his "Kaor!" the Barsoomian word of greeting, came in low but distinct tones.Page 21
But how to reach them, now that I had found the only vulnerable spot in their mighty prison,.Page 29
" As he ceased speaking he awaited in silence evidently for some outbreak of rage upon my part--something that would have added to the spice of his revenge.Page 30
At the first note of that soothing sound the banths halted in their tracks, and every fierce head went high as the beasts sought the origin of the familiar call.Page 33
But at length he overdid the thing; for, drawing his shortsword, he hurled it, javelinwise, at my body, at the same instant rushing upon me with his long-sword.Page 48
There were breathing spells when I had a chance to converse with the red men beside whom I fought, and once the jeddak, Kulan Tith himself, laid his hand upon my shoulder and asked my name.Page 53
Behold the result!" and Thurid pointed a rigid finger at my forehead.Page 57
"Wait," he said to me, and then to Kulan Tith.Page 59
Tears dimmed his eyes as he placed both his hands upon the shoulders of his friend.Page 60
Among them would he find a perpetual haven of refuge, where no 'lying heretics' might seek him out.Page 61
What became of them none knew--only that they passed forever out of the sight of man into that grim and mysterious country of the pole.Page 62
Never for a moment were we safe from the sudden charge of some huge demon of the north.Page 64
For the better part of two hours the trail paralleled the barrier, and then suddenly turned toward it through the roughest and seemingly most impassable country I ever had beheld.Page 67
neck in a parting hug.Page 88
"And it was you," she cried, "who spoke to me from the tower! How could I dream that my beloved Virginian lay behind that fierce beard and that yellow skin?" She had been wont to call me her Virginian as a term of endearment, for she knew that I loved the sound of that beautiful name, made a thousand times more beautiful and hallowed by her dear lips, and as I heard it again after all those long years my eyes became dimmed with tears and my voice choked with emotion.Page 90
With an exclamation of delight I sprang forward to partake of some of the welcome food, but ere ever I reached it the light was extinguished, and, though I groped my way about the chamber, my hands came in contact with nothing beside the smooth, hard wall that I had felt on my first examination of my prison.Page 95
He who faced me was a yellow man--a little, wizened-up, pasty-faced old fellow with great eyes that showed the white round the entire circumference of the iris.Page 100
From behind the voices of the excited guardsmen came reverberating along the corridor, suddenly growing fainter as Talu's spy led them up the wrong passageway in fancied pursuit.Page 111
Now the guardsmen were forcing the Princess of Helium up the few steps to the side of the tyrant of Okar, and I had no eyes and no thoughts for aught else.Page 127
"Warriors of Barsoom," I cried, "Kadabra has fallen, and with her the hateful tyrant of the north; but the integrity of Okar must be preserved.