A Princess of Mars HTML version
My Advent On Mars
I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was on Mars; not
once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I was not asleep, no need for
pinching here; my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your
conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither
I found myself lying prone upon a bed of yellowish, mosslike vegetation which stretched
around me in all directions for interminable miles. I seemed to be lying in a deep, circular
basin, along the outer verge of which I could distinguish the irregularities of low hills.
It was midday, the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was rather intense
upon my naked body, yet no greater than would have been true under similar conditions
on an Arizona desert. Here and there were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing rock
which glistened in the sunlight; and a little to my left, perhaps a hundred yards, appeared
a low, walled enclosure about four feet in height. No water, and no other vegetation than
the moss was in evidence, and as I was somewhat thirsty I determined to do a little
Springing to my feet I received my first Martian surprise, for the effort, which on Earth
would have brought me standing upright, carried me into the Martian air to the height of
about three yards. I alighted softly upon the ground, however, without appreciable shock
or jar. Now commenced a series of evolutions which even then seemed ludicrous in the
extreme. I found that I must learn to walk all over again, as the muscular exertion which
carried me easily and safely upon Earth played strange antics with me upon Mars.
Instead of progressing in a sane and dignified manner, my attempts to walk resulted in a
variety of hops which took me clear of the ground a couple of feet at each step and landed
me sprawling upon my face or back at the end of each second or third hop. My muscles,
perfectly attuned and accustomed to the force of gravity on Earth, played the mischief
with me in attempting for the first time to cope with the lesser gravitation and lower air
pressure on Mars.
I was determined, however, to explore the low structure which was the only evidence of
habitation in sight, and so I hit upon the unique plan of reverting to first principles in
locomotion, creeping. I did fairly well at this and in a few moments had reached the low,
encircling wall of the enclosure.
There appeared to be no doors or windows upon the side nearest me, but as the wall was
but about four feet high I cautiously gained my feet and peered over the top upon the
strangest sight it had ever been given me to see.