The animals of Manor Farm take over the farm when Mr. Jones dies and decide to make a set of rules for a fair society. Corruption settles when the pigs start living like humans and change the rules, removing anyone who dares question them.
A Fairy Story By George Orwell
MR. JONES, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses forthe night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.
With the ring oflight from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard,kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer fromthe barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones wasalready snoring.
As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was astirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone roundduring the day that old Major, the prize Middle
White boar, had had astrange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the otheranimals. It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soonas Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called,though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty ) was so highly regarded on the farmthat everyone was quite ready to lose an hour’s sleep in order to hear what hehad to say.
At one end of thebig barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern whichhung from a beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout,but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearancein spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the otheranimals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their differentfashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher , and then the pigs, who settled downin the straw immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselveson the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep andcows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses,Boxer and Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down theirvast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animalconcealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middlelife, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal. Boxer wasan enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any twoordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhatstupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but hewas universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powersof work. After the horses came Muriel, the white goat, and Benjamin, thedonkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. Heseldom talked, and when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark forinstance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, butthat he would sooner have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals onthe farm he never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing tolaugh at.
Nevertheless, withoutopenly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the two of them usually spenttheir Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side byside and never speaking.
The two horses hadjust lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filedinto the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find someplace where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round themwith her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptlyfell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drewMr. Jones’s trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. Shetook a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to drawattention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, wholooked round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself inbetween Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major’sspeech without listening to a word of what he was saying.
All the animalswere now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept on a perch behind theback door. When Major saw that they had all made themselves comfortable andwere waiting attentively, he cleared his throat and began:
“Comrades,you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last night. But Iwill come to the dream later. I have something else to say first. I do notthink, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months longer, and before Idie, I feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired.
I have had a longlife, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I thinkI may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as anyanimal now living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.
“Now,comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so muchfood as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable ofit are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instantthat our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty.No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is ayear old. No animal in England is free.
The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.
“But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because this land of ours is so poorthat it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell upon it? No, comrades, athousand times no! The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it iscapable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number ofanimals than now inhabit it. This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labouris stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all ourproblems. It is summed up in a single word Man. Man is the only real enemy wehave. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork isabolished for ever.
“Manis the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, heis too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yethe is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them thebare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps forhimself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there isnot one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me,how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year? Andwhat has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdycalves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies. And youhens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many of those eggsever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men.And you, Clover, where are those four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your old age? Each was sold at a year old you will never see one of them again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?
“And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But noanimal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting infront of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within ayear. To that horror we all must come cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Eventhe horses and the dog s have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day thatthose great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to theknacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond.
“Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almostovernight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work nightand day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my messageto you, comrades: Rebellion! I do notknow when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundredyears, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner orlater justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.
“And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.”
At this momentthere was a tremendous uproar. While Major was speaking four large rats had creptout of their holes and were sitting on their hindquarters, listening to him.The dogs had suddenly caught sight of them, and it was only by a swift dash fortheir holes that the rats saved their lives. Major raised his trotter forsilence.
“Comrades,”he said, “here is a point that must be settled. The wild creatures, suchas rats and rabbits are they our friends or our enemies? Let us put it to thevote. I propose this question to the meeting: Are rats comrades?”
The vote was takenat once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades.There were only four dissentients, the three dogs and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides. Major continued:
“I have little more to say. I merely repeat, remember always your duty of enmitytowards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatevergoes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that infighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you haveconquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live in a house, orsleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touchmoney, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, noanimal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple,we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.
“And now,comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe thatdream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man has vanished.But it reminded me of something that I had long forgotten. Many years ago, whenI was a little pig, my mother and the other sows used to sing an old song ofwhich they knew only the tune and the first three words. I had known that tune in my infancy, but it hadlong since passed out of my mind. Last night, however, it came back to me in my dream.
And what is more, the words of the song also came back words, I am certain, which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades. I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you can sing it better for yourselves. It is called Beastsof England.”
Old Major clearedhis throat and began to sing. As he had said, his voice was hoarse, but he sang well enough, and it was a stirring tune, something between Clementine and La Cucaracha. The words ran:
Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time.
Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.
Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips no more shall crack.
Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day.
Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.
For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toil for freedom’s sake.
Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time.
The singing of this song threw the animals into the wildest excitement. Almost before Major hadreached the end, they had begun singing it for themselves. Even the stupidest of them had already picked up the tune and a few of the words, and as for the clever ones, such as the pigs and dogs, they had the entire song by heart within a few minutes. And then, after a few preliminary tries, the whole farm burst out into Beasts of England in tremendous unison. The cows lowed it, the dogs whined it, the sheep bleated it, the horses whinnied it, the ducks quacked it.
They were so delighted with the song that they sang it right through five times in succession, and might have continued singing it all night if they had not been interrupted.
Unfortunately, theuproar awoke Mr. Jones, who sprang out of bed, making sure that there was a foxin the yard. He seized the gun which always stood in a corner of his bedroom,and let fly a charge of number 6 shot into the darkness. The pellets buriedthemselves in the wall of the barn and the meeting broke up hurriedly. Everyonefled to his own sleeping-place. The birds jumped on to their perches, theanimals settled down in the straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment.
THREE nights laterold Major died peacefully in his sleep. His body was buried at the foot of the orchard.
This was early inMarch. During the next three months there was much secret activity. Major’sspeech had given to the more intelligent animals on the farm a completely newoutlook 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 theothers fell naturally upon the pigs, who were generally recognised as being thecleverest 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 alarge, 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. Snowballwas 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 malepigs on the farm were porkers. The best known among them was a small fat pignamed Squealer, with very round cheeks,twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brillianttalker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skippingfrom 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 wasasleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principles ofAnimalism to the others. At the beginning they met with much stupidity andapathy. Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. Jones, whomthey referred to as “Master,” or made elementary remarks such as”Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we sho uld starve to death.”Others asked such questions as “Why should we care what happens after we aredead?” or “If this Rebellion is to happen anyway, what differencedoes it make whether we work for it or not?”, and the pigs had greatdifficulty in making them see that this was contrary to the spirit ofAnimalism. The stupidest questions of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare.The very first question she asked Snowball was: “Will there still be sugarafter 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 youwant.”
“And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?” asked Mollie.
“Comrade,” said Snowball, “those ribbons that you are sodevoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty isworth more than ribbons? “
Mollie agreed, butshe did not sound very convinced.
The pigs had aneven 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 hewas also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysteriouscountry 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 wasin season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on thehedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but someof them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard topersuade them that there was no such place.
Their most faithful disciples were the two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover. These two had greatdifficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once acceptedthe pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, andpassed 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 ended.
Now, as it turnedout, the Rebellion was achieved much earlier and more easily than anyone hadexpected. In past years Mr. Jones, although a hard master, had been a capablefarmer, but of late he had fallen on evil days. He had become much disheartenedafter losing money in a lawsuit, and had taken to drinking more than was goodfor him. For whole days at a time he would lounge in his Windsor chair in thekitchen, reading the newspapers, drinking, and occasionally feeding Moses oncrusts 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 thehay 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 notcome back till midday on Sunday. The men had milked the cows in the earlymorning 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 sofawith the News of the World over his face, so that when evening came, theanimals were still unf ed. At last they could stand it no longer. One of thecows broke in the door of the store-shed with her horn and all the animalsbegan to help themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr. Jones wokeup. The next moment he and his four men were in the store-shed with whips intheir hands, lashing out in all directions. This was more than the hungryanimals could bear.
With one accord,though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung themselvesupon their tormentors. Jones and his men suddenly found themselves being buttedand kicked from all sides. The situation was quite out of their control.
They had never seenanimals behave like this before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whomthey were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened themalmost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they gave up trying todefend themselves and took to their heels. A minute later all five of them werein full flight down the cart-track that led to the main road, with the animalspursuing them in triumph.
Mrs. Jones lookedout of the bedroom window, saw what was happening, hurriedly flung a fewpossessions into a carpet bag, and slipped out of the farm by another way.Moses sprang off his perch and flapped after her, croaking loudly. Meanwhilethe animals had chased Jones and his men out on to the road and slammed thefive-barred gate behind them. And so, almost before they knew what washappening, the Rebellion had been successfully carried through: Jones wasexpelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.
For the first fewminutes the animals could hardly believe in their good fortune. Their first actwas to gallop in a body right round the boundaries of the farm, as though tomake quite sure that no human being was hiding anywhere upon it; then theyraced back to the farm buildings to wipe out the last traces of Jones’s hatedreign. 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 beenused 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 therubbish fire which was burning in the yard. So were the whips. All the animalscapered with joy when they saw the whips going up in flames. Snowball alsothrew on to the fire the ribbons with which the horses’ manes and tails hadusually been decorated on market days.
“Ribbons,”he said, “should be considered as clothes, which are the mark of a humanbeing. All animals should go naked.”
When Boxer heardthis he fetched the small straw hat which he wore in summer to keep the fliesout of his ears, and flung it on to the fire with the rest.
In a very littlewhile 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 ofcorn to everybody, with two biscuits for each dog. Then they sang Beasts ofEngland from end to end seven times running, and after that they settled downfor the night and slept as they had never slept before.
But they woke atdawn as usual, and suddenly remembering the glorious thing that had happened,they all raced out into the pasture together. A little way down the pasturethere was a knoll that commanded a view of most of the farm. The animals rushedto the top of it and gazed round them in the clear morning light.
Yes, it was theirseverything that they could see was theirs! In the ecstasy of that thought theygambolled round and round, they hurled themselves into the air in great leapsof excitement. They rolled in the dew, they cropped mouthfuls of the sweetsummer grass, they kicked up clods of the black earth and snuffed its richscent. Then they made a tour of inspection of the whole farm and surveyed withspeechless admiration the ploughland, the hayfield, the orchard, the pool, thespinney. It was as though they had never seen these things before, and even nowthey could hardly believe that it was all their own.
Then they filedback to the farm buildings and halted in silence outside the door of thefarmhouse. That was theirs too, but they were frightened to go inside. After amoment, however, Snowball and Napoleon butted the door open with theirshoulders and the animals entered in single file, walking with the utmost carefor fear of disturbing anything. They tiptoed from room to room, afraid tospeak above a whisper and gazing with a kind of awe at the unbelievable luxury,at the beds with their feather matt resses, the looking-glasses, the horsehairsofa, the Brussels carpet, the lithograph of Queen Victoria over thedrawing-room mantelpiece. They were lust coming down the stairs when Mollie wasdiscovered to be missing. Going back, the others found that she had remainedbehind 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 admiringherself in the glass in a very foolish manner. The others reproached hersharply, and they went outside. Some hams hanging in the kitchen were taken outfor burial, and the barrel of beer in the scullery was stove in with a kickfrom Boxer’s hoof, otherwise nothing in the house was touched. A unanimousresolution was passed on the spot that the farmhouse should be preserved as amuseum. All were agreed that no animal must ever live there.
The animals hadtheir breakfast, and then Snowball and Napoleon called them together again.
“Comrades,” said Snowball, “it is half-past six and wehave a long day before us. Today we begin the hay harvest. But there is anothermatter that must be attended to first.”
The pigs nowrevealed that during the past three months they had taught themselves to readand write from an old spelling book which had belonged to Mr. Jones’s childrenand which had been thrown on the rubbish heap. Napoleon sent for pots of blackand white paint and led the way down to the five-barred gate that gave on tothe main road. Then Snowball (for it was Snowball who was best at writing) tooka brush between the two knuckles of his trotter, painted out MANOR FARM fromthe top bar of the gate and in its place painted ANIMAL FARM. This was to bethe name of the farm from now onwards. After this they went back to the farmbuildings, where Snowball and Napoleon sent for a ladder which they caused tobe set against the end wall of the big barn. They explained that by theirstudies of the past three months the pigs had succeeded in reducing theprinciples of Animalism to Seven
Commandments. TheseSeven Commandments would now be inscribed on the wall; they woul d form anunalterable law by which all the animals on Animal Farm must live for everafter. With some difficulty (for it is not easy for a pig to balance himself ona ladder) Snowball climbed up and set to work, with Squealer a few rungs belowhim holding the paint-pot. The Commandments were written on the tarred wall ingreat white letters that could be read thirty yards away. They ran thus:
THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or haswings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.
It 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. Allthe animals nodded in complete agreement, and the cleverer ones at once beganto learn the Commandments by heart.
“Now,comrades,” cried Snowball, throwing down the paint-brush, “to thehayfield! Let us make it a point of honour to get in the harvest more quicklythan Jones and his men could do.”
But at this momentthe 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 almostbursting.
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 isgoing to happen to all that milk?” said someone.
“Jones usedsometimes to mix some of it in our mash,” said one of the hens.
“Never mindthe 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 hay field to begin the harvest, and when they came back in the evening it was noticed that the milk had disappeared.
HOW they toiled andsweated to get the hay in! But their efforts were rewarded, for the harvest wasan even bigger success than they had hoped.
Sometimes the workwas hard; the implements had been designed for human beings and not foranimals, and it was a great drawback that no animal was able to use any toolthat involved standing on his hind legs. But the pigs were so clever that theycould think of a way round every difficulty. As for the horses, they knew everyinch of the field, and in fact understood the business of mowing and raking farbetter than Jones and his men had ever done. The pigs did not actually work,but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it wasnatural that they should assume the leadership. Boxer and Clover would harness themselvesto the cutter or the horse-rake (no bits or reins were needed in these days, ofcourse) and tramp steadily round and round the field with a pig walking behindand calling out “Gee up, comrade!” or “Whoa back, comrade!”as the case might be. And every animal down to the humblest worked at turningthe hay and gathering it. Even the ducks and hens toiled to and fro all day inthe sun, carrying tiny wisps of hay in their beaks. In the end they finishedthe harvest in two days’ less time than it had usually taken Jones and his men.Moreover, it was the biggest harvest that the farm had ever seen. There was nowastage whatever; the hens and ducks with their sharp eyes had gathered up thevery last stalk. And not an animal on the farm had stolen so much as amouthful.
All through thatsummer the work of the farm went like clockwork. The animals were happy as theyhad never conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acutepositive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselvesand for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master. With theworthless parasitical human beings gone, there was more for everyone to eat.There was more leisure too, inexperienced though the animals were. They metwith many difficulties for instance, later in the year, when they harvested thecorn, they had to tread it out in the ancient style and blow away the chaffwith their breath, since the farm possessed no threshing machine but the pigswith their cleverness and Boxer with his tremendous muscles always pulled themthrough.
Boxer was theadmiration of everybody. He had been a hard worker even in Jones’s time, butnow he seemed more like three horses than one; there were days when the entirework of the farm seemed to rest on his mighty shoulders. From morning to nighthe was pushing and pulling, always at the spot where the work was hardest. Hehad made an arrangement with one of the cockerels to call him in the morningshalf an hour earlier than anyone else, and would put in some volunteer labourat whatever seemed to be most needed, before the regular day’s work began. Hisanswer to every problem, every setback, was “I will work harder!”which he had adopted as his personal motto.
But everyone workedaccording to his capacity The hens and ducks, for instance, saved five bushelsof corn at the harvest by gathering up the stray grains. Nobody stole, nobodygrumbled over his rations, the quarrelling and biting and jealousy which hadbeen normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared. Nobodyshirked or almost nobody. Mollie, it was true, was not good at getting up inthe mornings, and had a way of leaving work early on the ground that there wasa stone in her hoof. A nd the behaviour of the cat was somewhat peculiar. Itwas soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never befound. She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, orin the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions. Old Benjamin, the donkey,seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones’s time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either.
About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion.
When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only “Donkeys live along time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey,” and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer.
On Sundays there was no work. Breakfast was an hour later than usual, and after breakfast there was a ceremony which was observed every week without fail. First came the hoisting of the flag. Snowball had found in the harness-room an old green table cloth of Mrs. Jones’s and had painted on it a hoof and a horn in white. This was run up the flagstaff in the farmhouse garden every Sunday 8, morning. The flag was green, Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the hoof and horn signified the future Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown.
After the hoisting of the flag all the animals trooped into the big barn for a general assembly which was known as the Meeting.
Here the work of thecoming week was planned out and resolutions were put forward and debated. Itwas always the pigs who put forward the resolutions. The other animalsunderstood how to vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own.
Snowball and Napoleonwere by far the most active in the debates.
But it was noticed that these two were never in agreement: whatever suggestion either of them made, the other could be counted on to oppose it. Even when it was resolved athing no one could object to in itself to set aside the small paddock behindthe orchard as a home of rest for animals who were past work, there was astormy debate over the correct retiring age for each class of animal. The Meeting always ended with the singing of Beasts of England,and the afternoon was given up to recreation.
The pigs had set aside the harness-room as a headquarters for themselves. Here, in the evenings,they studied black smithing, carpentering, and other necessary arts from books which they had brought out of the farmhouse. Snowball also busied himself with organising the other animals into what he called Animal Committees. He was indefatigable at this. He formed the Egg Production Committee for the hens, the Clean Tails League for thecows, the Wild Comrades’ Re-education Committee (the object of this was to tamethe rats and rabbits), the Whiter Wool Movement for the sheep, and various others, besides instituting classes in reading and writing. On the whole, theseprojects were a failure. The attempt to tame the wild creatures, for instance,broke down almost immediately. They continued to behave very much as before,and when treated with generosity, simply took advantage of it. The cat joined the Re-education Committee and was very active in it for some days. She was seen one day sitting on a roof and talking to some sparrows who were just out of her reach. She was telling them that all animals were now comrades and that any sparrow who chose could come and perch on her paw; but the sparrows kept their distance.
The reading and writing classes, however, were a great success. By the autumn almost every animal on the farm was literate in some degree.
As for the pigs,they could already read and write perfectly. The dogs learned to read fairly well, but were not interested in reading anything except the Seven Commandments.
Muriel, the goat,could read somewhat better than the dogs, and sometimes used to read to the others in the evenings from scraps of newspaper which she found on the rubbish heap. Benjamin could read as well as any pig, but never exercised his faculty.So far as he knew, he said, there was nothing worth reading. Clover learnt the whole alphabet, but could not put words together.
Boxer could not get beyond the letter D. He would trace out A, B, C, D, in the dust with his great hoof, and then would stand staring at the letters with his ears back, sometimes shaking his forelock, trying with all his might to remember what came next and never succeeding. On several occasions, indeed, he did learn E, F, G, H, but bythe time he knew them, it was always discovered that he had forgotten A, B, C,and D. Finally he decided to be content with the first four letters, and used to write them out once or twice every day to refresh his memory.
Mollie refused to learn any but the six letters which spelt her own name. She would form thesevery neatly out of pieces of twig, and would then decorate them with a floweror two and walk round them admiring them.
None of the otheranimals on the farm could get further than the letter A. It was also found thatthe stupider animals, such as the sheep, hens, and ducks, were unable to learnthe Seven Commandments by heart. After much thought Snowball declared that theSeven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely:”Four legs good, two legs bad.” This, he said, contained theessential principle of Animalism. Whoever had thoroughly grasped it would be safefrom human influences. The birds at first objected, since it seemed to them that they also had two legs, but Snowball proved to them that this was not so.
“A bird’s wing,comrades,” he said, “is an organ of propulsion and not ofmanipulation. It should therefore be regarded as a leg. The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief.”
The birds did notunderstand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and allthe humbler animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart. FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD, was inscribed on the end wall of the barn, above the Seven Commandments and in bigger letters When they had once got it by heart, the sheep developed a great liking for this maxim, and often as they lay in the field they would all start bleating “Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!” and keep it up for hours on end, never growing tired of it.
Napoleon took no interest in Snowball’s committees. He said that the education of the young was more important than anything that could be done for those who were already grown up. It happened that Jessie and Bluebell had both whelped soon after the hay harvest, giving birth between them to nine sturdy puppies. As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education. He took them up into a loft which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence.
The mystery of where the milk went to was soon cleared up. It was mixed every day into the pigs’ mash. The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls. The animals had assumed as a matter of course that these would be shared out equally; one day, however, the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs. At this some of the other animals murmured, but it was no use. All the pigs were in full agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon. Squealer was sent to make the necessary explanations to the others.
“Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,” cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, “surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?”
Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.