A Princess of Mars HTML version
Child-Raising On Mars
After a breakfast, which was an exact replica of the meal of the preceding day and an
index of practically every meal which followed while I was with the green men of Mars,
Sola escorted me to the plaza, where I found the entire community engaged in watching
or helping at the harnessing of huge mastodonian animals to great three-wheeled chariots.
There were about two hundred and fifty of these vehicles, each drawn by a single animal,
any one of which, from their appearance, might easily have drawn the entire wagon train
when fully loaded.
The chariots themselves were large, commodious, and gorgeously decorated. In each was
seated a female Martian loaded with ornaments of metal, with jewels and silks and furs,
and upon the back of each of the beasts which drew the chariots was perched a young
Martian driver. Like the animals upon which the warriors were mounted, the heavier draft
animals wore neither bit nor bridle, but were guided entirely by telepathic means.
This power is wonderfully developed in all Martians, and accounts largely for the
simplicity of their language and the relatively few spoken words exchanged even in long
conversations. It is the universal language of Mars, through the medium of which the
higher and lower animals of this world of paradoxes are able to communicate to a greater
or less extent, depending upon the intellectual sphere of the species and the development
of the individual.
As the cavalcade took up the line of march in single file, Sola dragged me into an empty
chariot and we proceeded with the procession toward the point by which I had entered the
city the day before. At the head of the caravan rode some two hundred warriors, five
abreast, and a like number brought up the rear, while twenty-five or thirty outriders
flanked us on either side.
Every one but myself--men, women, and children--were heavily armed, and at the tail of
each chariot trotted a Martian hound, my own beast following closely behind ours; in
fact, the faithful creature never left me voluntarily during the entire ten years I spent on
Mars. Our way led out across the little valley before the city, through the hills, and down
into the dead sea bottom which I had traversed on my journey from the incubator to the
plaza. The incubator, as it proved, was the terminal point of our journey this day, and, as
the entire cavalcade broke into a mad gallop as soon as we reached the level expanse of
sea bottom, we were soon within sight of our goal.
On reaching it the chariots were parked with military precision on the four sides of the
enclosure, and half a score of warriors, headed by the enormous chieftain, and including
Tars Tarkas and several other lesser chiefs, dismounted and advanced toward it. I could
see Tars Tarkas explaining something to the principal chieftain, whose name, by the way,
was, as nearly as I can translate it into English, Lorquas Ptomel, Jed; jed being his title.