A Princess of Mars, Part 2
ANNOUNCER: Now, the VOA Special English program, American Stories.
Last week we brought you the first of four programs called “A Princess of Mars.” Our story is from a series of books by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. They are science fiction stories, a mix of imagination and science.
Last week, we met John Carter who begins the story. He enters a cave deep in the desert in the state of Arizona. There something happens. He does not know how, but he has been transported to the Red Planet, Mars.
He quickly learns that gravity on Mars is much less than on Earth. The lack of gravity makes him very strong. He can even jump very high without trying.
He finds a low wall that surrounds a group of eggs. The eggs are opening. Out come small, fierce-looking green creatures. When we left John Carter, a green adult creature carrying a long sharp spear was coming toward him.
And now, the second program in our series, “A Princess of Mars.”
JOHN CARTER: The creature with the spear was huge. There were many other similar creatures. They had ridden behind me on the backs of large animals. Each of them carried a collection of strange-looking weapons.
The one with the large spear got down from the back of his animal and began walking toward me. He was almost five meters tall and a dark green color. Huge teeth stuck out of his face, and his expression showed much hate and violence.
I immediately knew I was facing a terrible warrior. He began moving quickly toward me with the spear. I was completely unarmed. I could not fight. My only chance was to escape.
I used all my strength to jump away from him. I was able to jump almost thirty meters. The green Martian stopped and watched my effort. I would learn later that the look on his face showed complete surprise.
The creatures gathered and talked among themselves. While they talked, I thought about running away.
However, I noticed several of them carried devices that looked very much like rifles. I could not run.
Soon, all but one of the creatures moved away. The one who had threatened me stayed. He slowly took off a metal band from his arm and held it out to me. He spoke in a strange language.
JOHN CARTER: Slowly, he laid down his weapons. I thought this would have been a sign of peace anywhere on Earth…why not on Mars, too? I walked toward him and in a normal voice announced my name and said I had come in peace. I knew he did not understand, but like me, he took it to mean that I meant no harm.
Slowly, we came together. He gave me the large metal band that had been around his arm. He turned and made signs with his hands that I should follow him. Soon we arrived at the large animal he had been riding.
He again made a sign with his hands that I should ride on the same animal behind him. The group turned and began riding across the land. We moved quickly toward mountains in the distance.
JOHN CARTER: The large animals we rode moved quickly across the land. I could tell from the surrounding mountains that we were on the bottom of a long dead sea.
In time we came to a huge city. At first I thought the city was empty. The buildings all were empty and in poor repair. But soon I saw hundreds of the green warriors. I also saw green women and children. I soon learned about many cities like this. The cities were built hundreds of years ago by a people that no longer existed. The green Martians used the cities. They moved from one empty city to another, never stopping for more than a day or two.