A Princess of Mars HTML version
On The Arizona Hills
I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but
I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood.
So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today
as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that
some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know
why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same
horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe,
that I am so convinced of my mortality.
And because of this conviction I have determined to write down the story of the
interesting periods of my life and of my death. I cannot explain the phenomena; I can
only set down here in the words of an ordinary soldier of fortune a chronicle of the
strange events that befell me during the ten years that my dead body lay undiscovered in
an Arizona cave.
I have never told this story, nor shall mortal man see this manuscript until after I have
passed over for eternity. I know that the average human mind will not believe what it
cannot grasp, and so I do not purpose being pilloried by the public, the pulpit, and the
press, and held up as a colossal liar when I am but telling the simple truths which some
day science will substantiate. Possibly the suggestions which I gained upon Mars, and the
knowledge which I can set down in this chronicle, will aid in an earlier understanding of
the mysteries of our sister planet; mysteries to you, but no longer mysteries to me.
My name is John Carter; I am better known as Captain Jack Carter of Virginia. At the
close of the Civil War I found myself possessed of several hundred thousand dollars
(Confederate) and a captain's commission in the cavalry arm of an army which no longer
existed; the servant of a state which had vanished with the hopes of the South.
Masterless, penniless, and with my only means of livelihood, fighting, gone, I determined
to work my way to the southwest and attempt to retrieve my fallen fortunes in a search
I spent nearly a year prospecting in company with another Confederate officer, Captain
James K. Powell of Richmond. We were extremely fortunate, for late in the winter of
1865, after many hardships and privations, we located the most remarkable gold-bearing
quartz vein that our wildest dreams had ever pictured. Powell, who was a mining
engineer by education, stated that we had uncovered over a million dollars worth of ore in
a trifle over three months.
As our equipment was crude in the extreme we decided that one of us must return to
civilization, purchase the necessary machinery and return with a sufficient force of men
properly to work the mine.