A Princess of Mars HTML version

Tars Tarkas Finds A Friend
About noon I passed low over a great dead city of ancient Mars, and as I skimmed out
across the plain beyond I came full upon several thousand green warriors engaged in a
terrific battle. Scarcely had I seen them than a volley of shots was directed at me, and
with the almost unfailing accuracy of their aim my little craft was instantly a ruined
wreck, sinking erratically to the ground.
I fell almost directly in the center of the fierce combat, among warriors who had not seen
my approach so busily were they engaged in life and death struggles. The men were
fighting on foot with long-swords, while an occasional shot from a sharpshooter on the
outskirts of the conflict would bring down a warrior who might for an instant separate
himself from the entangled mass.
As my machine sank among them I realized that it was fight or die, with good chances of
dying in any event, and so I struck the ground with drawn long-sword ready to defend
myself as I could.
I fell beside a huge monster who was engaged with three antagonists, and as I glanced at
his fierce face, filled with the light of battle, I recognized Tars Tarkas the Thark. He did
not see me, as I was a trifle behind him, and just then the three warriors opposing him,
and whom I recognized as Warhoons, charged simultaneously. The mighty fellow made
quick work of one of them, but in stepping back for another thrust he fell over a dead
body behind him and was down and at the mercy of his foes in an instant. Quick as
lightning they were upon him, and Tars Tarkas would have been gathered to his fathers in
short order had I not sprung before his prostrate form and engaged his adversaries. I had
accounted for one of them when the mighty Thark regained his feet and quickly settled
the other.
He gave me one look, and a slight smile touched his grim lip as, touching my shoulder,
he said,
"I would scarcely recognize you, John Carter, but there is no other mortal upon Barsoom
who would have done what you have for me. I think I have learned that there is such a
thing as friendship, my friend."
He said no more, nor was there opportunity, for the Warhoons were closing in about us,
and together we fought, shoulder to shoulder, during all that long, hot afternoon, until the
tide of battle turned and the remnant of the fierce Warhoon horde fell back upon their
thoats, and fled into the gathering darkness.
Ten thousand men had been engaged in that titanic struggle, and upon the field of battle
lay three thousand dead. Neither side asked or gave quarter, nor did they attempt to take