A Princess of Mars (Chapter 5, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 5

Sola stared into the brute's wicked-looking eyes, muttered a word or
two of command, pointed to me, and left the chamber. I could not but
wonder what this ferocious-looking monstrosity might do when left alone
in such close proximity to such a relatively tender morsel of meat; but
my fears were groundless, as the beast, after surveying me intently for
a moment, crossed the room to the only exit which led to the street,
and lay down full length across the threshold.

This was my first experience with a Martian watch dog, but it was
destined not to be my last, for this fellow guarded me carefully during
the time I remained a captive among these green men; twice saving my
life, and never voluntarily being away from me a moment.

While Sola was away I took occasion to examine more minutely the room
in which I found myself captive. The mural painting depicted scenes of
rare and wonderful beauty; mountains, rivers, lake, ocean, meadow,
trees and flowers, winding roadways, sun-kissed gardens--scenes which
might have portrayed earthly views but for the different colorings of
the vegetation. The work had evidently been wrought by a master hand,
so subtle the atmosphere, so perfect the technique; yet nowhere was
there a representation of a living animal, either human or brute, by
which I could guess at the likeness of these other and perhaps extinct
denizens of Mars.

While I was allowing my fancy to run riot in wild conjecture on the
possible explanation of the strange anomalies which I had so far met
with on Mars, Sola returned bearing both food and drink. These she
placed on the floor beside me, and seating herself a short ways off
regarded me intently. The food consisted of about a pound of some
solid substance of the consistency of cheese and almost tasteless,
while the liquid was apparently milk from some animal. It was not
unpleasant to the taste, though slightly acid, and I learned in a short
time to prize it very highly. It came, as I later discovered, not from
an animal, as there is only one mammal on Mars and that one very rare
indeed, but from a large plant which grows practically without water,
but seems to distill its plentiful supply of milk from the products of
the soil, the moisture of the air, and the rays of the sun. A single
plant of this species will give eight or ten quarts of milk per day.

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