“This is to be the last of my narrative,” he remarked, after we had greeted each other.
“What!” I ejaculated in amazement.
“You see, my dear fellow,” continued Almos, “it was necessary for you to become gradually acquainted with the advanced contions on Mars, properly to understand them, and I have tried to school your mind accordingly. It is essential, however, for you to see these things, fully to appreciate the advancement of almost twenty centuries, and only thus can my highest ambition be realized.”
“How is it possible?”
“When I have told you of several important ways in which life on Mars differs from that on Earth, you will more readily understand.
“I have said that unhappiness on Mars is almost unknown. It is only the presence of ill health that causes unhappiness. If the body can be kept in a condition of absolutely perfect health—and by that I mean something far beyond what is considered perfect health on Earth—then unhappiness is impossible. Its causes, sorrow, jealousy, envy, hatred, and discontent, are eliminated, and a normal condition of perfect immunity from wrong-doing and unhappiness exists.
“It has been discovered on Earth that crime is the result of a diseased brain, and with us this discovery, in time, developed the fact that wrong-doing, even in its minor phases, is the result of physical ill health. Maintain, then, a perfect state of bodily health in a community, and there is no wrong-doing and consequent unhappiness.
“The means of obtaining this bodily health was discovered on Mars, in the form of invisible light rays, almost six hundred years ago, and its discovery led to a complete transformation in social conditions, establishing perfect tranquillity and happiness upon the entire globe.
“Separate governments became intolerable and were abandoned when race distinction was forgotten, and the people of Mars became as one family, speaking one tongue. Friendship for one’s neighbor was transmuted into love for one’s brother. The pursuit of personal gain was replaced by a desire to work for the good of all, and now a keen individual sense of right and duty actuates the entire population, and is paramount in all things. Duties are performed without other compensation than that which the fulfillment of something well done brings.
“It was soon found that the remarkable regenerating properties of these rays perpetuated life and youth. Not only did they prevent sickness of any kind, but they rebuilt the tissues of the body as fast as they wore out, thus making the aging of the body impossible. A child therefore grows up to full manhood or womanhood and remains in that state of the body’s highest excellence. While the child is developing the rays stimulate his progress; anything beyond that would be decaying, a condition the rays prevent.”
Accustomed though I had become to a long recital of the most marvelous accounts without interrupting, I could not suppress an exclamation of astonishment at the information that Martians enjoy everlasting life.