A Princess of Mars HTML version

Love-Making On Mars
Following the battle with the air ships, the community remained within the city for
several days, abandoning the homeward march until they could feel reasonably assured
that the ships would not return; for to be caught on the open plains with a cavalcade of
chariots and children was far from the desire of even so warlike a people as the green
During our period of inactivity, Tars Tarkas had instructed me in many of the customs
and arts of war familiar to the Tharks, including lessons in riding and guiding the great
beasts which bore the warriors. These creatures, which are known as thoats, are as
dangerous and vicious as their masters, but when once subdued are sufficiently tractable
for the purposes of the green Martians.
Two of these animals had fallen to me from the warriors whose metal I wore, and in a
short time I could handle them quite as well as the native warriors. The method was not at
all complicated. If the thoats did not respond with sufficient celerity to the telepathic
instructions of their riders they were dealt a terrific blow between the ears with the butt of
a pistol, and if they showed fight this treatment was continued until the brutes either were
subdued, or had unseated their riders.
In the latter case it became a life and death struggle between the man and the beast. If the
former were quick enough with his pistol he might live to ride again, though upon some
other beast; if not, his torn and mangled body was gathered up by his women and burned
in accordance with Tharkian custom.
My experience with Woola determined me to attempt the experiment of kindness in my
treatment of my thoats. First I taught them that they could not unseat me, and even rapped
them sharply between the ears to impress upon them my authority and mastery. Then, by
degrees, I won their confidence in much the same manner as I had adopted countless
times with my many mundane mounts. I was ever a good hand with animals, and by
inclination, as well as because it brought more lasting and satisfactory results, I was
always kind and humane in my dealings with the lower orders. I could take a human life,
if necessary, with far less compunction than that of a poor, unreasoning, irresponsible
In the course of a few days my thoats were the wonder of the entire community. They
would follow me like dogs, rubbing their great snouts against my body in awkward
evidence of affection, and respond to my every command with an alacrity and docility
which caused the Martian warriors to ascribe to me the possession of some earthly power
unknown on Mars.
"How have you bewitched them?" asked Tars Tarkas one afternoon, when he had seen
me run my arm far between the great jaws of one of my thoats which had wedged a piece