A Princess of Mars HTML version

An Air Scout For Zodanga
As I proceeded on my journey toward Zodanga many strange and interesting sights
arrested my attention, and at the several farm houses where I stopped I learned a number
of new and instructive things concerning the methods and manners of Barsoom.
The water which supplies the farms of Mars is collected in immense underground
reservoirs at either pole from the melting ice caps, and pumped through long conduits to
the various populated centers. Along either side of these conduits, and extending their
entire length, lie the cultivated districts. These are divided into tracts of about the same
size, each tract being under the supervision of one or more government officers.
Instead of flooding the surface of the fields, and thus wasting immense quantities of
water by evaporation, the precious liquid is carried underground through a vast network
of small pipes directly to the roots of the vegetation. The crops upon Mars are always
uniform, for there are no droughts, no rains, no high winds, and no insects, or destroying
On this trip I tasted the first meat I had eaten since leaving Earth--large, juicy steaks and
chops from the well-fed domestic animals of the farms. Also I enjoyed luscious fruits and
vegetables, but not a single article of food which was exactly similar to anything on
Earth. Every plant and flower and vegetable and animal has been so refined by ages of
careful, scientific cultivation and breeding that the like of them on Earth dwindled into
pale, gray, characterless nothingness by comparison.
At a second stop I met some highly cultivated people of the noble class and while in
conversation we chanced to speak of Helium. One of the older men had been there on a
diplomatic mission several years before and spoke with regret of the conditions which
seemed destined ever to keep these two countries at war.
"Helium," he said, "rightly boasts the most beautiful women of Barsoom, and of all her
treasures the wondrous daughter of Mors Kajak, Dejah Thoris, is the most exquisite
"Why," he added, "the people really worship the ground she walks upon and since her
loss on that ill-starred expedition all Helium has been draped in mourning.
"That our ruler should have attacked the disabled fleet as it was returning to Helium was
but another of his awful blunders which I fear will sooner or later compel Zodanga to
elevate a wiser man to his place."
"Even now, though our victorious armies are surrounding Helium, the people of Zodanga
are voicing their displeasure, for the war is not a popular one, since it is not based on
right or justice. Our forces took advantage of the absence of the principal fleet of Helium