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AMERICAN STORIES - A Princess of Mars


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BOB DOUGHTY:  Now, the Special English program, American Stories.


Today, we begin a new series from a book by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The book is called "A Princess of Mars."  It is the first book in a series that Mister Burroughs wrote about a man who travels to Mars during the last years of the eighteen hundreds. There, the man meets strange beings and sees strange sights. At first he is a captive, then a warrior, and after many battles, a prince of a royal family.

Shep O'Neal begins the story of "A Princess of Mars."



JOHN CARTER:  I am a very old man. How old I do not know. It is possible I am a hundred, maybe more.  I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men do.约翰卡特:我是一个很老的人。我不知道我多大年纪。可能100岁了,或者更老。我不能断定因为我从不像其他人那样记忆年龄。

So far as I can remember, I have always been a man of about thirty.  I appear today as I did forty years ago.  Yet, I feel that I cannot go on living forever.  Someday I will die the real death from which there is no escape.  I do not know why I should fear death. I who have died two times and am still alive.我所能记得的我一直是一个三十岁左右的男人。我的外表和我四十年前一样。然而,我感觉我不可能永远继续活着了。有一天,我将会不能逃脱的真正死去。我不知道为什么我会害怕死亡。别人死了两次而我却仍然活着。


I have never told this story. I know the human mind will not believe what it cannot understand.  I cannot explain what happened to me. I can only tell of the ten years my dead body lay undiscovered in an Arizona cave.



My name is John Carter.  I am from the state of Virginia.  At the close of the Civil War I found myself without a home, without money and without work.


I decided the best plan was to search for gold in the great deserts of the American Southwest.

I spent almost a year searching for gold with another former soldier, Captain James Powell, also of Virginia.  We were extremely lucky.  In the winter of eighteen sixty-five we found rocks that held gold.


Powell was trained as a mining engineer.  He said we had uncovered over a million dollars worth of gold in only three months.  But the work was slow with only two men and not much equipment.  So we decided Powell should go to the nearest settlement to seek equipment and men to help us with the work.  On March third, eighteen sixty-six, Powell said good-bye.  He rode his horse down the mountain toward the valley. I followed his progress for several hours.


The morning Powell left was like all mornings in the deserts of the great Southwest -- clear and beautiful.

Not much later I looked across the valley.  I was surprised to see three riders in the same place where I had last seen my friend.  After watching for some time, I decided the three riders must be hostile Indians.

Powell, I knew, was well armed and an experienced soldier.  But I knew he would need my aid.  I found my weapons, placed a saddle on my horse and started as fast as possible down the trail taken by Powell.



I followed as quickly as I could until dark.  About nine o'clock the moon became very bright.  I had no difficulty following Powell's trail.  I soon found the trail left by the three riders following Powell.  I knew they were Indians.  I was sure they wanted to capture Powell.



Suddenly I heard shots far ahead of me.  I hurried ahead as fast as I could.  Soon I came to a small camp.  Several hundred Apache Indians were in the center of the camp.  I could see Powell on the ground.  I did not even think about what to do, I just acted.  I pulled out my guns and began shooting.



The Apaches were surprised and fled.  I forced my horse into the camp and toward Powell. I reached down and pulled him up on the horse by his belt.  I urged the horse to greater speed.  The Apaches by now realized that I was alone and quickly began to follow.  We were soon in very rough country.

The trail I chose began to rise sharply.  It went up and up.  I followed the trail for several hundred meters more until I came to the mouth of a large cave.


It was almost morning now.  I got off my horse and laid Powell on the ground.  I tried to give him water.  But it was no use.  Powell was dead.  I laid his body down and continued to the cave.


I began to explore the cave.  I was looking for a safe place to defend myself, or perhaps for a way out.  But I became very sleepy.  It was a pleasant feeling.  My body became extremely heavy.  I had trouble moving.  Soon I had to lay down against the side of the cave.  For some reason I could not move my arms or legs.


I lay facing the opening of the cave.  I could see part of the trail that had led me here.  And now I could see the Apaches.  They had found me.  But I could do nothing.


Within a minute one of them came into the cave.  He looked at me, but he came no closer.  His eyes grew wide.  His mouth opened.  He had a look of terror on his face.  He looked behind me for moment and then fled.


Suddenly I heard a low noise behind me.突然我听到了一声低沉的声音。


So could the rest of the Apaches.  They all turned and fled.  The sound became louder.  But still I could not move.  I could not turn my head to see what was behind me.  All day I lay like this.  I tried again to rise, and again, but still I could not move.  Then I heard a sharp sound.  It was like a steel wire breaking.  I quickly stood up.  My back was against the cave wall.

I looked down.  There before me lay my body.其他的印第安人也一样。他们全都转身逃跑了。这声音变的更大了。但是我还是不能够移动。我不能回过头看看到底什么在我的后面。我像这样躺了一整天。我再次尝试这站起来。可我还是不能动。之后我听到一个尖锐的声音。像是金属断裂的声音。我很快站了起来。我的后背抵着山洞的墙。


For a few moments, I stood looking at my body.  I could not bring myself to touch it.  I was very frightened.  The sounds of the cave and the sight of my body forced me away.  I slowly backed to the opening of the cave.


I turned to look at the Arizona night.  I could see a thousand stars.  As I stood there I turned my eyes to a large red star.  I could not stop looking at it.  It was Mars...the red planet...the red god of war.  It seemed to pull me near.



Then, for a moment, I closed my eyes.  There was an instant of extreme cold and total darkness.  Suddenly I was in deep, dreamless, peaceful sleep.



I opened my eyes upon a very strange land.  I immediately knew then I was on Mars.  Not once did I question this fact.  My mind told me I was on Mars as your mind tells you that you are upon Earth.  You do not question the fact, nor did I.

I found myself lying on a bed of yellow colored grass that covered the land for kilometers.  The time was near the middle of the day and the sun was shining full upon me.  It was warm.

我站在一片很陌生的土地上睁开了眼睛。我很快的知道了我在火星上。我一次也没怀疑这个事实。可是我的理智告诉我我是在地球上,就像你的理智告诉你你在地球上一样。你肯定没有怀疑过这个事实,我也没有。我发现我自己趟在一张延绵数公里的黄色的草铺成的床上。 此时接近中午了,太阳照耀在了我的身上,很暖和。

I decided to do a little exploring.   Springing to my feet, I received my first Martian surprise.  The effort to stand carried me into the Martian air to the height of about one meter.  I landed softly upon the ground, however, without incident.


I found that I must learn to walk all over again.  My muscles were used to the gravity of Earth.  Mars has less gravity.  My attempts to walk resulted in jumps and hops, which took me into the air.  I once landed on my face.  I soon learned that it took much less effort for me to move on Mars than it did on Earth.


Near me was a small, low wall.  Carefully, I made my way to the wall and looked over.  It was filled with eggs, some already broken open.  Small, green creatures were in them.  They looked at me with huge red eyes.


As I watched the fierce-looking creatures, I failed to hear twenty full-grown Martians coming from behind me.  They had come without warning.  As I turned, I saw them.  One was coming at me with a huge spear, with its sharp tip pointed at my heart!



BOB DOUGHTY:This is Bob Doughty.  You have been listening to American Stories and our version of "A Princess of Mars."  The voice of John Carter was Shep O'Neal.  Our program was written for radio, produced and directed by Paul Thompson.


Join us again next week for the next part of the Edgar Rice Burroughs story, "A Princess of Mars,"  on the Special English program, American Stories, on the Voice of America.


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