The Chessmen of Mars

The Chessmen of Mars

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THE CHESSMEN OF MARS
PRELUDE
JOHN CARTER COMES TO EARTH
Shea had just beaten me at chess, as usual, and, also as usual, I had
gleaned what questionable satisfaction I might by twitting him with
this indication of failing mentality by calling his attention to the
_n_th time to that theory, propounded by certain scientists, which is
based… See more details below

Overview

THE CHESSMEN OF MARS
PRELUDE
JOHN CARTER COMES TO EARTH
Shea had just beaten me at chess, as usual, and, also as usual, I had
gleaned what questionable satisfaction I might by twitting him with
this indication of failing mentality by calling his attention to the
_n_th time to that theory, propounded by certain scientists, which is
based upon the assertion that phenomenal chess players are always
found
to be from the ranks of children under twelve, adults over seventy-two
Page 1
The Chessmen of Mars
or the mentally defective--a theory that is lightly ignored upon those
rare occasions that I win. Shea had gone to bed and I should have
followed suit, for we are always in the saddle here before sunrise;
but
instead I sat there before the chess table in the library, idly
blowing
smoke at the dishonored head of my defeated king.
While thus profitably employed I heard the east door of the
living-room
open and someone enter. I thought it was Shea returning to speak with
me on some matter of tomorrow's work; but when I raised my eyes to the
doorway that connects the two rooms I saw framed there the figure of a
bronzed giant, his otherwise naked body trapped with a jewel-encrusted
harness from which there hung at one side an ornate short-sword and at
the other a pistol of strange pattern. The black hair, the steel-gray
eyes, brave and smiling, the noble features--I recognized them at
once,
and leaping to my feet I advanced with outstretched hand.
"John Carter!" I cried. "You?"
"None other, my son," he replied, taking my hand in one of his and
placing the other upon my shoulder.
"And what are you doing here?" I asked. "It has been long years since
you revisited Earth, and never before in the trappings of Mars. Lord!
but it is good to see you--and not a day older in appearance than when
you trotted me on your knee in my babyhood. How do you explain it,
John
Carter, Warlord of Mars, or do you try to explain it?"
"Why attempt to explain the inexplicable?" he replied. "As I have told
you before, I am a very old man. I do not know how old I am. I recall
no childhood; but recollect only having been always as you see me now
and as you saw me first when you were five years old. You, yourself,
have aged, though not as much as most men in a corresponding number of
years, which may be accounted for by the fact that the same blood runs
in our veins; but I have not aged at all. I have discussed the
question
with a noted Martian scientist, a friend of mine; but his theories are
still only theories. However, I am content with the fact--I never age,
and I love life and the vigor of youth.
"And now as to your natural question as to what brings me to Earth
again and in this, to earthly eyes, strange habiliment. We may thank
Kar Komak, the bowman of Lothar. It was he who gave me the idea upon
which I have been experimenting until at last I have achieved success.
As you know I have long possessed the power to cross the void in
spirit, but never before have I been able to impart to inanimate
things
a similar power. Now, however, you see me for the first time precisely
Page 2
The Chessmen of Mars
as my Martian fellows see me--you see the very short-sword that has
tasted the blood of many a savage foeman; the harness with the devices
of Helium and the insignia of my rank; the pistol that was presented
to
me by Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark.
"Aside from seeing you, which is my principal reason for being here,
and satisfying myself that I can transport inanimate things from Mars
to Earth, and therefore animate things if I so desire, I have no
purpose. Earth is not for me. My every interest is upon Barsoom--my
wife, my children, my work; all are there. I will spend a quiet
evening
with you and then back to the world I love even better than I love
life."
As he spoke he dropped into the chair upon the opposite side of the
chess table.
"You spoke of children," I said. "Have you more than Carthoris?"
"A daughter," he replied, "only a little younger than Carthoris, and,
barring one, the fairest thing that ever breathed the thin air of
dying
Mars. Only Dejah Thoris, her mother, could be more beautiful than Tara
of Helium."
For a moment he fingered the chessmen idly. "We have a game on Mars
similar to chess," he said, "very similar. And there is a race there
that plays it grimly with men and naked swords. We call the game
jetan.
It is played on a board like yours, except that there are a hundred
squares and we use twenty pieces on each side. I never see it played
without thinking of Tara of Helium and what befell her among the
chessmen of Barsoom. Would you like to hear her story?"
I said that I ...

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940014480321
Publisher:
All classic book warehouse
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
199
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

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