A Princess of Mars HTML version
The roof of the enclosure was of solid glass about four or five inches in thickness, and
beneath this were several hundred large eggs, perfectly round and snowy white. The eggs
were nearly uniform in size being about two and one-half feet in diameter.
Five or six had already hatched and the grotesque caricatures which sat blinking in the
sunlight were enough to cause me to doubt my sanity. They seemed mostly head, with
little scrawny bodies, long necks and six legs, or, as I afterward learned, two legs and two
arms, with an intermediary pair of limbs which could be used at will either as arms or
legs. Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and
protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also
independently of each other, thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction, or
in two directions at once, without the necessity of turning the head.
The ears, which were slightly above the eyes and closer together, were small, cup-shaped
antennae, protruding not more than an inch on these young specimens. Their noses were
but longitudinal slits in the center of their faces, midway between their mouths and ears.
There was no hair on their bodies, which were of a very light yellowish-green color. In
the adults, as I was to learn quite soon, this color deepens to an olive green and is darker
in the male than in the female. Further, the heads of the adults are not so out of proportion
to their bodies as in the case of the young.
The iris of the eyes is blood red, as in Albinos, while the pupil is dark. The eyeball itself
is very white, as are the teeth. These latter add a most ferocious appearance to an
otherwise fearsome and terrible countenance, as the lower tusks curve upward to sharp
points which end about where the eyes of earthly human beings are located. The
whiteness of the teeth is not that of ivory, but of the snowiest and most gleaming of
china. Against the dark background of their olive skins their tusks stand out in a most
striking manner, making these weapons present a singularly formidable appearance.
Most of these details I noted later, for I was given but little time to speculate on the
wonders of my new discovery. I had seen that the eggs were in the process of hatching,
and as I stood watching the hideous little monsters break from their shells I failed to note
the approach of a score of full-grown Martians from behind me.
Coming, as they did, over the soft and soundless moss, which covers practically the entire
surface of Mars with the exception of the frozen areas at the poles and the scattered
cultivated districts, they might have captured me easily, but their intentions were far more
sinister. It was the rattling of the accouterments of the foremost warrior which warned
On such a little thing my life hung that I often marvel that I escaped so easily. Had not
the rifle of the leader of the party swung from its fastenings beside his saddle in such a
way as to strike against the butt of his great metal-shod spear I should have snuffed out
without ever knowing that death was near me. But the little sound caused me to turn, and
there upon me, not ten feet from my breast, was the point of that huge spear, a spear forty