NIGHTS LATER old Major died peacefully in his sleep. His body
was buried at the foot of the orchard.
This was early in March. During the next three months there was
much secret activity. Major's speech had given to the more intelligent
animals on the farm a completely new outlook on life. They did
not know when the Rebellion predicted by Major would take place,
they had no reason for thinking that it would be within their
own lifetime, but they saw clearly that it was their duty to prepare
for it. The work of teaching and organising the others fell naturally
upon the pigs, who were generally recognised as being the cleverest
of the animals. Pre-eminent among the pigs were two young boars
named Snowball and Napoleon, whom Mr. Jones was breeding up for
sale. Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar,
the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with
a reputation for getting his own way. Snowball was a more vivacious
pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was
not considered to have the same depth of character. All the other
male pigs on the farm were porkers. The best known among them
was a small fat pig named Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling
eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant
talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a
way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which
was somehow very persuasive. The others said of Squealer that
he could turn black into white.
These three had elaborated old Major's teachings into a complete
system of thought, to which they gave the name of Animalism. Several
nights a week, after Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings
in the barn and expounded the principles of Animalism to the others.
At the beginning they met with much stupidity and apathy. Some
of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. Jones, whom
they referred to as 'Master,' or made elementary remarks such
as 'Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death.'
Others asked such questions as 'Why should we care what happens
after we are dead?' or 'If this Rebellion is to happen anyway,
what difference does it make whether we work for it or not?',
and the pigs had great difficulty in making them see that this
was contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The stupidest questions
of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question
she asked Snowball was: 'Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?
'No,' said Snowball firmly. 'We have no means of making sugar
on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all
the oats and hay you want.'
'And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?' asked
'Comrade,' said Snowball, 'those ribbons that you are so devoted
to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty
is worth more than ribbons? '
Mollie agreed, but she did not sound very convinced.
The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put
about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones's especial
pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker.
He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called
Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died.
It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond
the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven
days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump
sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses
because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed
in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to
persuade them that there was no such place.
Their most faithful disciples were the two cart-horses, Boxer
and Clover. These two had great difficulty in thinking anything
out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their
teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed
it on to the other animals by simple arguments. They were unfailing
in their attendance at the secret meetings in the barn, and led
the singing of 'Beasts of England', with which the meetings always
Now, as it turned out, the Rebellion was achieved much earlier
and more easily than anyone had expected. In past years Mr. Jones,
although a hard master, had been a capable farmer, but of late
he had fallen on evil days. He had become much disheartened after
losing money in a lawsuit, and had taken to drinking more than
was good for him. For whole days at a time he would lounge in
his Windsor chair in the kitchen, reading the newspapers, drinking,
and occasionally feeding Moses on crusts of bread soaked in beer.
His men were idle and dishonest, the fields were full of weeds,
the buildings wanted roofing, the hedges were neglected, and the
animals were underfed.
June came and the hay was almost ready for cutting. On Midsummer's
Eve, which was a Saturday, Mr. Jones went into Willingdon and
got so drunk at the Red Lion that he did not come back till midday
on Sunday. The men had milked the cows in the early morning and
then had gone out rabbiting, without bothering to feed the animals.
When Mr. Jones got back he immediately went to sleep on the drawing-room
sofa with the News of the World over his face, so that
when evening came, the animals were still unfed. At last they
could stand it no longer. One of the cows broke in the door of
the store-shed with her horn and all the animals began to help
themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr. Jones woke
up. The next moment he and his four men were in the store-shed
with whips in their hands, lashing out in all directions. This
was more than the hungry animals could bear. With one accord,
though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung
themselves upon their tormentors. Jones and his men suddenly found
themselves being butted and kicked from all sides. The situation
was quite out of their control. They had never seen animals behave
like this before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whom they
were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened
them almost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they
gave up trying to defend themselves and took to their heels. A
minute later all five of them were in full flight down the cart-track
that led to the main road, with the animals pursuing them in triumph.
Mrs. Jones looked out of the bedroom window, saw what was happening,
hurriedly flung a few possessions into a carpet bag, and slipped
out of the farm by another way. Moses sprang off his perch and
flapped after her, croaking loudly. Meanwhile the animals had
chased Jones and his men out on to the road and slammed the five-barred
gate behind them. And so, almost before they knew what was happening,
the Rebellion had been successfully carried through: Jones was
expelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.
For the first few minutes the animals could hardly believe in
their good fortune. Their first act was to gallop in a body right
round the boundaries of the farm, as though to make quite sure
that no human being was hiding anywhere upon it; then they raced
back to the farm buildings to wipe out the last traces of Jones's
hated reign. The harness-room at the end of the stables was broken
open; the bits, the nose-rings, the dog-chains, the cruel knives
with which Mr. Jones had been used to castrate the pig s and lambs,
were all flung down the well. The reins, the halters, the blinkers,
the degrading nosebags, were thrown on to the rubbish fire which
was burning in the yard. So were the whips. All the animals capered
with joy when they saw the whips going up in flames. Snowball
also threw on to the fire the ribbons with which the horses' manes
and tails had usually been decorated on market days.
'Ribbons,' he said, 'should be considered as clothes, which are
the mark of a human being. All animals should go naked.'
When Boxer heard this he fetched the small straw hat which he
wore in summer to keep the flies out of his ears, and flung it
on to the fire with the rest.
In a very little while the animals had destroyed everything that
reminded them of Mr. Jones. Napoleon then led them back to the
store-shed and served out a double ration of corn to everybody,
with two biscuits for each dog. Then they sang Beasts of England
from end to end seven times running, and after that they settled
down for the night and slept as they had never slept before.
But they woke at dawn as usual, and suddenly remembering the glorious
thing that had happened, they all raced out into the pasture together.
A little way down the pasture there was a knoll that commanded
a view of most of the farm. The animals rushed to the top of it
and gazed round them in the clear morning light. Yes, it was theirs
- everything that they could see was theirs! In the ecstasy of
that thought they gambolled round and round, they hurled themselves
into the air in great leaps of excitement. They rolled in the
dew, they cropped mouthfuls of the sweet summer grass, they kicked
up clods of the black earth and snuffed its rich scent. Then they
made a tour of inspection of the whole farm and surveyed with
speechless admiration the ploughland, the hayfield, the orchard,
the pool, the spinney. It was as though they had never seen these
things before, and even now they could hardly believe that it
was all their own.
Then they filed back to the farm buildings and halted in silence
outside the door of the farmhouse. That was theirs too, but they
were frightened to go inside. After a moment, however, Snowball
and Napoleon butted the door open with their shoulders and the
animals entered in single file, walking with the utmost care for
fear of disturbing anything. They tiptoed from room to room, afraid
to speak above a whisper and gazing with a kind of awe at the
unbelievable luxury, at the beds with their feather mattresses,
the looking-glasses, the horsehair sofa, the Brussels carpet,
the lithograph of Queen Victoria over the drawing-room mantelpiece.
They were lust coming down the stairs when Mollie was discovered
to be missing. Going back, the others found that she had remained
behind in the best bedroom. She had taken a piece of blue ribbon
from Mrs. Jones's dressing-table, and was holding it against her
shoulder and admiring herself in the glass in a very foolish manner.
The others reproached her sharply, and they went outside. Some
hams hanging in the kitchen were taken out for burial, and the
barrel of beer in the scullery was stove in with a kick from Boxer's
hoof, - otherwise nothing in the house was touched. A unanimous
resolution was passed on the spot that the farmhouse should be
preserved as a museum. All were agreed that no animal must ever
The animals had their breakfast, and then Snowball and Napoleon
called them together again.
'Comrades,' said Snowball, 'it is half-past six and we have a
long day before us. Today we begin the hay harvest. But there
is another matter that must be attended to first.'
The pigs now revealed that during the past three months they had
taught themselves to read and write from an old spelling book
which had belonged to Mr. Jones's children and which had been
thrown on the rubbish heap. Napoleon sent for pots of black and
white paint and led the way down to the five-barred gate that
gave on to the main road. Then Snowball (for it was Snowball who
was best at writing) took a brush between the two knuckles of
his trotter, painted out MANOR FARM from the top bar of the gate
and in its place painted ANIMAL FARM. This was to be the name
of the farm from now onwards. After this they went back to the
farm buildings, where Snowball and Napoleon sent for a ladder
which they caused to be set against the end wall of the big barn.
They explained that by their studies of the past three months
the pigs had succeeded in reducing the principles of Animalism
to Seven Commandments. These Seven Commandments would now be inscribed
on the wall; they would form an unalterable law by which all the
animals on Animal Farm must live for ever after. With some difficulty
(for it is not easy for a pig to balance himself on a ladder)
Snowball climbed up and set to work, with Squealer a few rungs
below him holding the paint-pot. The Commandments were written
on the tarred wall in great white letters that could be read thirty
yards away. They ran thus:
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.
was very neatly written, and except that 'friend' was written
'freind' and one of the S's was the wrong way round, the spelling
was correct all the way through. Snowball read it aloud for the
benefit of the others. All the animals nodded in complete agreement,
and the cleverer ones at once began to learn the Commandments
'Now, comrades,' cried Snowball, throwing down the paint-brush,
'to the hayfield! Let us make it a point of honour to get in the
harvest more quickly than Jones and his men could do.'
But at this moment the three cows, who had seemed uneasy for some
time past, set up a loud lowing. They had not been milked for
twenty-four hours, and their udders were almost bursting. After
a little thought, the pigs sent for buckets and milked the cows
fairly successfully, their trotters being well adapted to this
task. Soon there were five buckets of frothing creamy milk at
which many of the animals looked with considerable interest.
'What is going to happen to all that milk?' said someone.
'Jones used sometimes to mix some of it in our mash,' said one
of the hens.
'Never mind the milk, comrades!' cried Napoleon, placing himself
in front of the buckets. 'That will be attended to. The harvest
is more important. Comrade Snowball will lead the way. I shall
follow in a few minutes. Forward, comrades! The hay is waiting.'
So the animals trooped down to the hayfield to begin the harvest,
and when they came back in the evening it was noticed that the
milk had disappeared.
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