The sad story that Sola shared with John Carter
was much abbreviated in the original All-Story magazine serial release
-- Under the Moons of Mars by "Norman Bean" -- possibly at the request
of editor, Thomas Metcalf. When the first edition hardcover book appeared
in 1917 under the title, A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs
presented a greatly expanded version of Sola's story. What follows is a
comparison of the text found in those two versions:
Text found in both pulp
and book versions in BLUE
Text found in pulp version only
Text found in book version only
BOTH: After partaking of
my evening meal of cheese-like food and vegetable milk I sought out Sola,
whom I found working by the light of a torch upon some of Tars Tarkas'
trappings. She looked up at my approach, her face lighting with pleasure
and with welcome.
"I am glad you came," she said;
"Dejah Thoris sleeps and I am lonely. Mine own people do not care for me,
John Carter; I am too unlike them. It is a sad fate, since I must live
my life amongst them, and I often wish that I were a true green Martian
woman, without love and without hope; but I have known love and so I am
PULP VERSION SUMMARY:
I sank down beside the industrious woman, and for some time we sat in friendly
silence. After a while we entered into desultory conversation, and in the
end she opened her heart to me and told me her story.
The tragedy and pathos of the story at once made clear
to me why it was that Sola was so different from the other Martian women
I had known. Despite Martian customs, there had been real love between
her father and mother -- a clandestine affair which had persevered for
years, to be discovered and exposed by Sarkoja during a time when Sola's
father was at war. His identity was not learned by the spying woman.
Old Tal Hajus, soulless and bloody-handed villain, ordered
Sola's mother executed; but the doomed woman before her end, succeeded
in placing her young daughter among the other common children, and the
real identity of the child never came out.
Sola by Thomas Yeates
BOOK VERSION: "I
promised to tell you my story, or rather the story of my parents. From
what I have learned of you and the ways of your people I am sure that the
tale will not seem strange to you, but among green Martians it has no parallel
within the memory of the oldest living Thark, nor do our legends hold many
"My mother was rather small, in
fact too small to be allowed the responsibilities of maternity, as our
chieftains breed principally for size. She was also less cold and cruel
than most green Martian women, and caring little for their society, she
often roamed the deserted avenues of Thark alone, or went and sat among
the wild flowers that deck the nearby hills, thinking thoughts and wishing
wishes which I believe I alone among Tharkian women today may understand,
for am I not the child of my mother?
"And there among the hills
she met a young warrior, whose duty it was to guard the feeding zitidars
and thoats and see that they roamed not beyond the hills. They spoke at
first only of such things as interest a community of Tharks, but gradually,
as they came to meet more often, and, as was now quite evident to both,
no longer by chance, they talked about themselves, their likes, their ambitions
and their hopes. She trusted him and told him of the awful repugnance she
felt for the cruelties of their kind, for the hideous, loveless lives they
must ever lead, and then she waited for the storm of denunciation to break
from his cold, hard lips; but instead he took her in his arms and kissed
"They kept their love a secret for
six long years. She, my mother, was of the retinue of the great Tal Hajus,
while her lover was a simple warrior, wearing only his own metal. Had their
defection from the traditions of the Tharks been discovered both would
have paid the penalty in the great arena before Tal Hajus and the assembled
"The egg from which I came was hidden
beneath a great glass vessel upon the highest and most inaccessible of
the partially ruined towers of ancient Thark. Once each year my mother
visited it for the five long years it lay there in the process of incubation.
She dared not come oftener, for in the mighty guilt of her conscience she
feared that her every move was watched. During this period my father gained
great distinction as a warrior and had taken the metal from several chieftains.
His love for my mother had never diminished, and his own ambition
in life was to reach a point where he might wrest the metal from Tal Hajus
himself, and thus, as ruler of the Tharks, be free to claim her as his
own, as well as, by the might of his power, protect the child which otherwise
would be quickly dispatched should the truth become known.
"It was a wild dream, that of wresting
the metal from Tal Hajus in five short years, but his advance was rapid,
and he soon stood high in the councils of Thark. But one day the chance
was lost forever, in so far as it could come in time to save his loved
ones, for he was ordered away upon a long expedition to the ice-clad south,
to make war upon the natives there and despoil them of their furs, for
such is the manner of the green Barsoomian; he does not labor for what
he can wrest in battle from others.
"He was gone for four years, and
when he returned all had been over for three; for about a year after his
departure, and shortly before the time for the return of an expedition
which had gone forth to fetch the fruits of a community incubator, the
egg had hatched. Thereafter my mother continued to keep me in the old tower,
visiting me nightly and lavishing upon me the love the community life would
have robbed us both of. She hoped, upon the return of the expedition from
the incubator, to mix me with the other young assigned to the quarters
of Tal Hajus, and thus escape the fate which would surely follow discovery
of her sin against the ancient traditions of the green men.
"She taught me rapidly the language
and customs of my kind, and one night she told me the story I have told
to you up to this point, impressing upon me the necessity for absolute
secrecy and the great caution I must exercise after she had placed me with
the other young Tharks to permit no one to guess that I was further advanced
in education than they, nor by any sign to divulge in the presence of others
my affection for her, or my knowledge of my parentage; and then drawing
me close to her she whispered in my ear the name of my father.
"And then a light flashed out upon
the darkness of the tower chamber, and there stood Sarkoja, her gleaming,
baleful eyes fixed in a frenzy of loathing and contempt upon my mother.
The torrent of hatred and abuse she poured out upon her turned my young
heart cold in terror. That she had heard the entire story was apparent,
and that she had suspected something wrong from my mother's long nightly
absences from her quarters accounted for her presence there on that fateful
"One thing she had not heard,
nor did she know, the whispered name of my father. This was apparent from
her repeated demands upon my mother to disclose the name of her partner
in sin, but no amount of abuse or threats could wring this from her, and
to save me from needless torture she lied, for she told Sarkoja that she
alone knew nor would she even tell her child.
"With final imprecations, Sarkoja
hastened away to Tal Hajus to report her discovery, and while she was gone
my mother, wrapping me in the silks and furs of her night coverings, so
that I was scarcely noticeable, descended to the streets and ran wildly
away toward the outskirts of the city, in the direction which led to the
far south, out toward the man whose protection she might not claim, but
on whose face she wished to look once more before she died.
"As we neared the city's southern
extremity a sound came to us from across the mossy flat, from the direction
of the only pass through the hills which led to the gates, the pass by
which caravans from either north or south or east or west would enter the
city. The sounds we heard were the squealing of thoats and the grumbling
of zitidars, with the occasional clank of arms which announced the approach
of a body of warriors. The thought uppermost in her mind was that it was
my father returned from his expedition, but the cunning of the Thark held
her from headlong and precipitate flight to greet him.
"Retreating into the shadows of
a doorway she awaited the coming of the cavalcade which shortly entered
the avenue, breaking its formation and thronging the thoroughfare from
wall to wall. As the head of the procession passed us the lesser moon swung
clear of the overhanging roofs and lit up the scene with all the brilliancy
of her wondrous light. My mother shrank further back into the friendly
shadows, and from her hiding place saw that the expedition was not that
of my father, but the returning caravan bearing the young Tharks. Instantly
her plan was formed, and as a great chariot swung close to our hiding place
she slipped stealthily in upon the trailing tailboard, crouching low in
the shadow of the high side, straining me to her bosom in a frenzy of love.
"She knew, what I did not, that
never again after that night would she hold me to her breast, nor was it
likely we would ever look upon each other's face again. In the confusion
of the plaza she mixed me with the other children, whose guardians during
the journey were now free to relinquish their responsibility. We were herded
together into a great room, fed by women who had not accompanied the expedition,
and the next day we were parceled out among the retinues of the chieftains.
"I never saw my mother after that night. [said
Sola.] She was imprisoned by Tal Hajus, and every
effort, including the most horrible and shameful
torture, was brought to bear upon
her to wring from her lips the name of my father; but she remained steadfast
and loyal, dying at last amidst the laughter of Tal Hajus and his chieftains
during some awful torture she was undergoing.
"I learned afterwards that she
told them that she had killed me to save
me from a like fate at their hands, and that she had thrown my body to
the white apes. Sarkoja alone disbelieved her, and I feel to this day that
she suspects my true origin, but does not dare expose me, [at the present,
at all events], because she also guesses, I am sure, the identity of my
"When he returned from his expedition
and learned the story of my mother's fate I was present as Tal Hajus told
him; but never by the quiver of a muscle did he betray the slightest emotion;
only he did not laugh as Tal Hajus gleefully described her death struggles.
"From that moment on he was the
cruelest of the cruel, and I am awaiting the day when he shall win the
goal of his ambition, and feel the carcass of Tal Hajus beneath his foot,
for I am as sure that he but waits the opportunity to wreak a terrible
vengeance, and that his great love is as strong in his breast as when it
first transfigured him nearly forty years ago, as I am that we sit here
upon the edge of a world-old ocean while sensible people sleep, John Carter."
"And your father, Sola, is
he with us now?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied, "but he does
not know me for what I am, nor does he know who betrayed my mother to Tal
Hajus. I alone know my father's name, and only I and [Tal] Hajus
and Sarkoja know that it was she who carried the tale that brought death
and torture upon her he loved."
We sat silent for a few moments,
she wrapped in the gloomy thoughts of her terrible past, and I in pity
for the poor creatures whom the heartless, senseless customs of their race
had doomed to loveless lives of cruelty and of hate. Presently she spoke.
"John Carter, if ever a real man
walked the cold, dead bosom of Barsoom you are one. I know that I can trust
you, and because the knowledge may someday help you or him or Dejah Thoris
or myself, I am going to tell you the name of my father, nor place any
restrictions or conditions upon your tongue.
["]When the time comes, speak the
truth if it seems best to you. I trust you because I know that you are
not cursed with the terrible trait of absolute and unswerving truthfulness,
that you could lie like one of your own Virginia gentlemen [--]
if a lie would save others from sorrow or suffering.
My father's name is Tars Tarkas."