Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
1996 ~ Over 10,000 Webpages in Archive
James Killian Spratt's Graphic
Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess
(click panels for full-screen size)
My companion, a native of the city,
was offered immediate employment by
the Captain of the Guards,
who was duly impressed by her banth-killing
-- an enviable credential even for a male
and practically unheard-of among Barsoomian
It amused me to realize that perhaps
her comely femininity had contributed
to the good Captain's enthusiasm.
She would also be paid extra
for the use of the thoat
as a mounted patrol officer,
so I immediately offered to give it to her,
but she insisted upon paying me for it.
In parting she thanked me for
helping her turn her fortune for the better
and bade me a wistful but cheerful farewell.
It was still very early in the morning
and the streets
were practically deserted.
raised high upon their metal columns,
resembled huge rookeries
perched atop steel tree trunks.
The main fear of Barsoomians
whereas theft is practically unknown.
The shops as a rule
were not raised for the night,
nor even were their doors
bolted or barred.
The Ptors had given me explicit directions
to the offices of the government agents
to whom they had given me letters,
and to living accommodations nearby.
My way led to the central square or plaza,
the heart of all Martian
The plaza of Zodanga covers a square mile
and is bounded by the palaces of the Jeddak,
the Jeds and lesser members of royalty,
and principal public buildings, cafes and shops.
I crossed the great square lost in wonder
Presently a red man
walking briskly toward me
from one of the avenues caught my eye.
He looked very familiar.
He paid me not the slightest attention,
but as he came abreast
I recognized him,
placed my hand upon his shoulder,
"Kaor, Kantos Kan!"
Like lightning he wheeled
and before I could
so much as lower my hand
the point of his longsword
was at my breast.
"WHO ARE YOU?!?"
then a backward leap
carried me fifty feet from his sword.
He dropped the point to the ground
and exclaimed, laughing,
"I need no better reply --
there is but one man on Barsoom
who can bounce like a rubber ball.
By the mother of the further moon,
John Carter, how came you here?
And are you a darseen,
to change your color at will?"
I briefly outlined my adventures
since parting with him at the arena at Warhoon.
Then he stated
"You gave me a bad half-minute, my friend.
Were my name and city known to the Zodangans,
I would soon be sitting on the banks
of the Lost Sea of Korus
with my departed ancestors.
I am here for Helium
and our Jeddak, Tardos Mors,
to find Dejah Thoris, our Princess."
He went on:
"Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga,
has her hidden here,
is madly in love with her,
and has convinced his father,
Than Kosis, Jeddak of Zodanga,
to make her hand in marriage
to Sab Than the price of peace
between Zodanga and Helium.
"There is growing anger in Zodanga
at this needless war,
and how freely Than Kosis
spends the blood, sweat and gold of his
Even with its forces greatly diminished,
Helium is a formidable foe,
and Zodangan losses are disproportionately
Than Kosis does not risk his own treasure
surrounded with hundreds of guards,
and never once venturing to the
It begins to be seen
that he cares little for his people,
but only for his spoiled and unworthy son,
his greedy friends, and his fantasy of himself
as a great war leader,
destined for a place in history--
--I would speed him on his way."
I could not help but smile
at Kantos Kan's vehemence.
"As long as peoples cling to the practice
of elevating one as their nation's leader
and granting him full powers,
there is a strong chance
that he will be not a patriot but a parasite.
Rulers start wars to cover
their own ineptitude and greed.
I have seen such in many lands.
A greedy Jeddak
will bring his people only strife."
Kantos Kan agreed:
"That seems to be the case in Zodanga!"
"Zodanga cannot hold Helium's thoat.
To barter our Princess for peace--our
women do not trade upon their favors!"
"Tardos Mors did not take Than Kosis'
arrogant and dishonorable offer well--"
"Such an unconscionable breach
of standards is simply unacceptable--"
"--but it is what we have come to expect
from Zodanga, and warrants
a swift and rude rebuff."
"Tardos Mors sent word to Than Kosis
that Helium would rather see
their Princess dead than wed against her
and that personally he would prefer
to burn in dying Helium
than join the metal of his house
to Than Kosis'.
This was the deadliest affront
he could have put upon Than Kosis and Zodanga,
but Helium loves him all the more for it."
The plaza was commencing to fill with people,
and Kantos Kan led us
to a gorgeous eatery to breakfast.
We were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.
No hand touched the food
until it was delivered hot and delicious
upon the table before us,
in response to the touching of tiny menu
buttons to indicate our desires.
As we ate Kantos Kan explained his plan
to join the Air Squadron of Sab Than,
the Prince, in hopes of discovering
the whereabouts of Dejah Thoris,
and urged me to do the same.
I agreed that the two of us working together
would be advantageous,
so after our meal
we went to the headquarters of
the air scout squadron and
he introduced me to the Commander.
We signed up together.
Kantos Kan took my exam for me as John Carter,
having taken his earlier in a different
a ruse which the Zodangans would discover,
we hoped, too late for them.
We were issued our gear,
and by day's end we were both
Air Scout Cadets for Zodanga.
But a few days' training
taught me the intricacies of
flying and repairing
the dainty little Martian scout vessels.
Sixteen feet long, two feet wide
and three inches thick,
with a tiny radium engine
and buoyancy to support one person.
The machines were simple and
the controls easy to learn, and in
no time I was a flier.
Barsoomian aircraft utilize the eighth ray,
unknown on Earth,
for lift and propulsion,
contained in tanks built into their hulls.
Even their gigantic battleships,
far outweighing the greatest warships of
float through the skies of Mars
as lightly and gracefully as toy balloons.
I soon found that flying is truly a joy.
The fourth day after arriving in Zodanga
I made my first solo patrol flight,
and as a result I won a promotion
and an assignment
to the Palace of the Jeddak, Than Kosis.
I had raced south
perhaps two hundred miles
along one of the great canals
when I descried far below me
a party of three green warriors
racing madly toward a small figure on foot,
running to escape.
Dropping my machine behind them,
I soon saw that the object of
the green men's pursuit
was one of my own squadron,
his tiny flier a short distance away and
surrounded by evidence of emergency repairs.
The green men were almost upon him,
charging with terrific speed
and couched to spear him,
so I made haste.
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all correspondence to
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