Volume 2258


58. "MARTIAN MIRACLE" -- Jan. 10, '43
(read novelization

P1: As the Chicken Men advanced, the plantking caused the tree to hurl Cro-Yat into their faces. 

P2: Then at Carter's command, the plant king compelled the tree limb to encircle the girl and lift her from the ground. 

P3: "What death is this? The giant princess asked. "Fear not, Dejah Thoris!" the Earthman reassured her. 

P4: Then the great tree rocked to and fro until suddenly the roots tore from the soil. 

P5: The plant king shrieked in satisfaction, for under his strange power the tree had become a free moving thing! 

P6: Now it turned upon the villagers and raced forward to trample them beneath its roots. 


1. Compare 

Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

The bird-men rushed forward in a large wave of bodies, determined to free their endangered leader, but they had no idea what powerful forces of nature they were facing. Seeing no visible enemy the savages focused their attention on chopping away at the tree limb that held Cro-Yat. Their confined chief continued his wild motions, just a short distance from the ground, calling upon his followers to free him at once. 

"Don't worry about what exists abd does not exist, Dejah Thoris! Now you'll see what my friend the plant king can do with the help of this great tree!" John Carter exclaimed. Hardly had the first hatchet fallen, when the amazingly limber branch whipped back a great distance, and from that point of retreat it just as quickly flipped forward, letting go the body of the bird-man just in front of the warrior mob. The leader crashed directly into their faces, halting the mob's advance and ending Cro-Yat's exalted career forever. 

Even before the hurled body struck the front ranks of barbaric troop, the plant king had already compelled the tree limb to encircle the girl and lift her from the ground. The great wooden arm swung at her with incredible speed but slowed just short of striking the astounded princess. Instead of doing her any harm the animated limb gently elevated both Dejah Thoris and the Earthman away from all danger. 

"What death is this? The giant princess asked. "John, use your senses -- this cannot possibly be happening to us! Something is very unnatural here! Are we on the Barsoom of my birth or is this -- is this the abode of my ancestors, beyond the Iss!" 

"Fear not, Dejah Thoris." the Earthman reassured her. "This is our moment of triumph. I have struggled without ceasing to attain this deliverance and now when we are on the brink of success, we must not let our imaginations get the better of us!" 

"I believe they already have," was her only reply. 

In all its wild movements and fantastic displays of power, the great skeel tree had remained firmly rooted in the center of the bird-men's village. The savages soon realized this fact and thereafter they were careful to stay at the edge of their huts, just out of reach of the tree's longest branches. Again the ferocious villagers rallied and began to attack their strange new foe. 

With Cro-Yat dead the savages had no leader, but a few among them were cunning enough to sense the tree's vulnerability to fire. These warriors took the lead in staging a more insidious assault. 

"Look my friend, they are throwing torches at us!" John Carter called out from his perch in the giant maiden's hair. If the plant king heard him, he did not answer. 

Faster and faster the firebrands came. Some were hurled so high as to force the princess to dodge out of their firey arcs, but most of the torches landed against the skeel tree's lower trunk. There the rough and eroded bark offered a perfect lodging place for the flaming missles 

At first the chicken-headed warriors made use of the half-burnt splintered logs from the disrupted cooking fire, but soon all the bird-men villagers were engaged in the work of scavenging dead wood from the ground and tearing branches from the surrounding foliage. Within a couple of minutes there was a raging bonfire burning out of control at the bottom of the great tree. The flames rose high on all sides, and still the bird-men added more fuel to the pyre. 

"This will never do!" shouted the plant king. "My old friend the skeel tree says his bark is beginning to burn! I'm afraid the time has come for us to take more drastic action. Hold on -- things are going to get a little bumpy now!" 

Under the plant king's direction the great tree began rocking to and fro. This action split the ground under the village into a myriad of wedge-shaped segments, radiating outward from the skeel's trunk in all directions. The violent lurching continued to increase in magnitude, until in each of the crevices split open in the ground the hidden roots of the huge tree began to emerge. Suddenly their still buried ends snapped off and all the roots tore from the soil. 

"What in Issus; name is happening?" the apprehensive princess demanded. 

John Carter moved close to her ear. The noise of the cracking, lurching roots was drowning out even the shrieks of the villagers. But the maiden heard his reply. 

"When I first met the plant king, something similar happened. He left his roots in the ground and made himself mobile. Perhaps the skeel tree will now move about as freely as the plant king does!" 

The plant king shrieked in satisfaction, for under his strange power the tree had become a free moving thing. Now he turned the mobile tree upon the villagers and raced forward to trample as many of them as possible beneath its heavy roots. The bird-men went down before the titanic adversary by the score, their hollow avian bones snapping beneath the great skeel like so many brittle twigs. 

At last it appeared that Dejah Thoris and John Carter had found salvation from the chicken-headed savages


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