George Orwell (1903-1950)
Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for
the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes.
With the ring of light 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 from the barrel in
the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was
As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a
stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word
had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle
White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and
wished to communicate it to the other animals. It had been agreed
that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as 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 farm that everyone was
quite ready to lose an hour's sleep in order to hear what he had
At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform,
Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern
which hung 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 appearance in spite of the fact that his
tushes had never been cut. Before long the other animals began to
arrive and make themselves comfortable after their different
fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and
Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw
immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselves
on the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the
sheep and cows 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 their vast hairy hoofs with
great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in
the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle
life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth
foal. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high,
and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white
stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and
in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was
universally respected for his steadiness of character and
tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel, the
white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest
animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and
when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark--for
instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the
flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no
flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he never laughed. If
asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at.
Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to
Boxer; the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in
the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and
The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings,
which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly
and wandering from side to side to find some place where they
would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them
with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it
and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish,
pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing
daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near
the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw
attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all
came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest place,
and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover; there
she purred contentedly throughout Major's speech without
listening to a word of what he was saying.
All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven,
who slept on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that
they had all made themselves comfortable and were waiting
attentively, he cleared his throat and began:
"Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that
I had last night. But I will come to the dream later. I have
something else to say first. I do not think, comrades, that I
shall be with you for many months longer, and before I die, I
feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired.
I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay
alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the
nature of life on this earth as well as any animal 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 much food as will keep the breath in
our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to
work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that
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 a year old. No animal in England is free. The
life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain
"But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because
this land of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life
to those who dwell upon it? No, comrades, a thousand times no!
The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it is
capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater
number of animals 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 labour
is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer
to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word--Man. Man
is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and
the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.
"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He
does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull
the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is
lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to
them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and
the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our
dung fertilises it, and yet there is not 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? And what has happened to that milk which should have been
breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the
throats of our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid
in this last year, and how many of those eggs ever 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 no
animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who
are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your
lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must
come--cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the
dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those
great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to
the knacker, 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
"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. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then
must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the
overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades:
Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might
be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I
see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later 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
At this moment there was a tremendous uproar. While Major was
speaking four large rats had crept out 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
for their holes that the rats saved their lives. Major raised his
trotter for silence.
"Comrades," he said, "here is a point that must be settled.
The wild creatures, such as rats and rabbits--are they our
friends or our enemies? Let us put it to the vote. I propose this
question to the meeting: Are rats comrades?"
The vote was taken at 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 enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes
upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has
wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against
Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have
conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live
in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol,
or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the
habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal 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 that dream 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, when I was a
little pig, my mother and the other sows used to sing an old song
of which they knew only the tune and the first three words. I had
known that tune in my infancy, but it had long 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 'Beasts of England'."
Old Major cleared his 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 had reached 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, the uproar awoke Mr. Jones, who sprang out of
bed, making sure that there was a fox in 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 buried
themselves in the wall of the barn and the meeting broke up
hurriedly. Everyone fled to his own sleeping-place. The birds
jumped on to their perches, the animals settled down in the
straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment.
Three 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
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
"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?"
"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 ended.
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
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 pigs
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
"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
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 just 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 live there.
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:
THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, 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. All the animals nodded in
complete agreement, and the cleverer ones at once began to learn
the Commandments by heart.
"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
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
"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
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.
How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in! But their
efforts were rewarded, for the harvest was an even bigger success
than they had hoped.
Sometimes the work was hard; the implements had been designed
for human beings and not for animals, and it was a great drawback
that no animal was able to use any tool that involved standing on
his hind legs. But the pigs were so clever that they could think
of a way round every difficulty. As for the horses, they knew
every inch of the field, and in fact understood the business of
mowing and raking far better 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 was natural that
they should assume the leadership. Boxer and Clover would harness
themselves to the cutter or the horse-rake (no bits or reins were
needed in these days, of course) and tramp steadily round and
round the field with a pig walking behind and calling out "Gee
up, comrade!" or "Whoa back, comrade!" as the case might be. And
every animal down to the humblest worked at turning the hay and
gathering it. Even the ducks and hens toiled to and fro all day
in the sun, carrying tiny wisps of hay in their beaks. In the end
they finished the 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 no wastage
whatever; the hens and ducks with their sharp eyes had gathered
up the very last stalk. And not an animal on the farm had stolen
so much as a mouthful.
All through that summer the work of the farm went like
clockwork. The animals were happy as they had never conceived it
possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive
pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by
themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a
grudging master. With the worthless parasitical human beings
gone, there was more for everyone to eat. There was more leisure
too, inexperienced though the animals were. They met with many
difficulties--for instance, later in the year, when they
harvested the corn, they had to tread it out in the ancient style
and blow away the chaff with their breath, since the farm
possessed no threshing machine--but the pigs with their
cleverness and Boxer with his tremendous muscles always pulled
them through. Boxer was the admiration of everybody. He had been
a hard worker even in Jones's time, but now he seemed more like
three horses than one; there were days when the entire work of
the farm seemed to rest on his mighty shoulders. From morning to
night he was pushing and pulling, always at the spot where the
work was hardest. He had made an arrangement with one of the
cockerels to call him in the mornings half an hour earlier than
anyone else, and would put in some volunteer labour at whatever
seemed to be most needed, before the regular day's work began.
His answer to every problem, every setback, was "I will work
harder!"--which he had adopted as his personal motto.
But everyone worked according to his capacity The hens and
ducks, for instance, saved five bushels of corn at the harvest by
gathering up the stray grains. Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over
his rations, the quarrelling and biting and jealousy which had
been normal features of life in the old days had almost
disappeared. Nobody shirked--or almost nobody. Mollie, it was
true, was not good at getting up in the mornings, and had a way
of leaving work early on the ground that there was a stone in her
hoof. And the behaviour of the cat was somewhat peculiar. It was
soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could
never be found. She would vanish for hours on end, and then
reappear at meal-times, or in 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 a long time. None of you has ever
seen a dead donkey," and the others had to be content with this
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
tablecloth 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 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 the coming week was planned out and resolutions
were put forward and debated. It was always the pigs who put
forward the resolutions. The other animals understood how to
vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own.
Snowball and Napoleon were 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--a thing no
one could object to in itself--to set aside the small paddock
behind the orchard as a home of rest for animals who were past
work, there was a stormy 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
The pigs had set aside the harness-room as a headquarters for
themselves. Here, in the evenings, they studied blacksmithing,
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 the
cows, the Wild Comrades' Re-education Committee (the object of
this was to tame the rats and rabbits), the Whiter Wool Movement
for the sheep, and various others, besides instituting classes in
reading and writing. On the whole, these projects 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 by the
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 these very
neatly out of pieces of twig, and would then decorate them with a
flower or two and walk round them admiring them.
None of the other animals on the farm could get further than
the letter A. It was also found that the stupider animals, such
as the sheep, hens, and ducks, were unable to learn the Seven
Commandments by heart. After much thought Snowball declared that
the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single
maxim, namely: "Four legs good, two legs bad." This, he said,
contained the essential principle of Animalism. Whoever had
thoroughly grasped it would be safe from 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
"A bird's wing, comrades," he said, "is an organ of propulsion
and not of manipulation. 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 not understand Snowball's long words, but they
accepted his explanation, and all the 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
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
"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
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.
By the late summer the news of what had happened on Animal
Farm had spread across half the county. Every day Snowball and
Napoleon sent out flights of pigeons whose instructions were to
mingle with the animals on neighbouring farms, tell them the
story of the Rebellion, and teach them the tune of 'Beasts of
Most of this time Mr. Jones had spent sitting in the taproom
of the Red Lion at Willingdon, complaining to anyone who would
listen of the monstrous injustice he had suffered in being turned
out of his property by a pack of good-for-nothing animals. The
other farmers sympathised in principle, but they did not at first
give him much help. At heart, each of them was secretly wondering
whether he could not somehow turn Jones's misfortune to his own
advantage. It was lucky that the owners of the two farms which
adjoined Animal Farm were on permanently bad terms. One of them,
which was named Foxwood, was a large, neglected, old-fashioned
farm, much overgrown by woodland, with all its pastures worn out
and its hedges in a disgraceful condition. Its owner, Mr.
Pilkington, was an easy-going gentleman farmer who spent most of
his time in fishing or hunting according to the season. The other
farm, which was called Pinchfield, was smaller and better kept.
Its owner was a Mr. Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, perpetually
involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains.
These two disliked each other so much that it was difficult for
them to come to any agreement, even in defence of their own
Nevertheless, they were both thoroughly frightened by the
rebellion on Animal Farm, and very anxious to prevent their own
animals from learning too much about it. At first they pretended
to laugh to scorn the idea of animals managing a farm for
themselves. The whole thing would be over in a fortnight, they
said. They put it about that the animals on the Manor Farm (they
insisted on calling it the Manor Farm; they would not tolerate
the name "Animal Farm") were perpetually fighting among
themselves and were also rapidly starving to death. When time
passed and the animals had evidently not starved to death,
Frederick and Pilkington changed their tune and began to talk of
the terrible wickedness that now flourished on Animal Farm. It
was given out that the animals there practised cannibalism,
tortured one another with red-hot horseshoes, and had their
females in common. This was what came of rebelling against the
laws of Nature, Frederick and Pilkington said.
However, these stories were never fully believed. Rumours of a
wonderful farm, where the human beings had been turned out and
the animals managed their own affairs, continued to circulate in
vague and distorted forms, and throughout that year a wave of
rebelliousness ran through the countryside. Bulls which had
always been tractable suddenly turned savage, sheep broke down
hedges and devoured the clover, cows kicked the pail over,
hunters refused their fences and shot their riders on to the
other side. Above all, the tune and even the words of 'Beasts of
England' were known everywhere. It had spread with astonishing
speed. The human beings could not contain their rage when they
heard this song, though they pretended to think it merely
ridiculous. They could not understand, they said, how even
animals could bring themselves to sing such contemptible rubbish.
Any animal caught singing it was given a flogging on the spot.
And yet the song was irrepressible. The blackbirds whistled it in
the hedges, the pigeons cooed it in the elms, it got into the din
of the smithies and the tune of the church bells. And when the
human beings listened to it, they secretly trembled, hearing in
it a prophecy of their future doom.
Early in October, when the corn was cut and stacked and some
of it was already threshed, a flight of pigeons came whirling
through the air and alighted in the yard of Animal Farm in the
wildest excitement. Jones and all his men, with half a dozen
others from Foxwood and Pinchfield, had entered the five-barred
gate and were coming up the cart-track that led to the farm. They
were all carrying sticks, except Jones, who was marching ahead
with a gun in his hands. Obviously they were going to attempt the
recapture of the farm.
This had long been expected, and all preparations had been
made. Snowball, who had studied an old book of Julius Caesar's
campaigns which he had found in the farmhouse, was in charge of
the defensive operations. He gave his orders quickly, and in a
couple of minutes every animal was at his post.
As the human beings approached the farm buildings, Snowball
launched his first attack. All the pigeons, to the number of
thirty-five, flew to and fro over the men's heads and muted upon
them from mid-air; and while the men were dealing with this, the
geese, who had been hiding behind the hedge, rushed out and
pecked viciously at the calves of their legs. However, this was
only a light skirmishing manoeuvre, intended to create a little
disorder, and the men easily drove the geese off with their
sticks. Snowball now launched his second line of attack. Muriel,
Benjamin, and all the sheep, with Snowball at the head of them,
rushed forward and prodded and butted the men from every side,
while Benjamin turned around and lashed at them with his small
hoofs. But once again the men, with their sticks and their
hobnailed boots, were too strong for them; and suddenly, at a
squeal from Snowball, which was the signal for retreat, all the
animals turned and fled through the gateway into the yard.
The men gave a shout of triumph. They saw, as they imagined,
their enemies in flight, and they rushed after them in disorder.
This was just what Snowball had intended. As soon as they were
well inside the yard, the three horses, the three cows, and the
rest of the pigs, who had been lying in ambush in the cowshed,
suddenly emerged in their rear, cutting them off. Snowball now
gave the signal for the charge. He himself dashed straight for
Jones. Jones saw him coming, raised his gun and fired. The
pellets scored bloody streaks along Snowball's back, and a sheep
dropped dead. Without halting for an instant, Snowball flung his
fifteen stone against Jones's legs. Jones was hurled into a pile
of dung and his gun flew out of his hands. But the most
terrifying spectacle of all was Boxer, rearing up on his hind
legs and striking out with his great iron-shod hoofs like a
stallion. His very first blow took a stable-lad from Foxwood on
the skull and stretched him lifeless in the mud. At the sight,
several men dropped their sticks and tried to run. Panic overtook
them, and the next moment all the animals together were chasing
them round and round the yard. They were gored, kicked, bitten,
trampled on. There was not an animal on the farm that did not
take vengeance on them after his own fashion. Even the cat
suddenly leapt off a roof onto a cowman's shoulders and sank her
claws in his neck, at which he yelled horribly. At a moment when
the opening was clear, the men were glad enough to rush out of
the yard and make a bolt for the main road. And so within five
minutes of their invasion they were in ignominious retreat by the
same way as they had come, with a flock of geese hissing after
them and pecking at their calves all the way.
All the men were gone except one. Back in the yard Boxer was
pawing with his hoof at the stable-lad who lay face down in the
mud, trying to turn him over. The boy did not stir.
"He is dead," said Boxer sorrowfully. "I had no intention of
doing that. I forgot that I was wearing iron shoes. Who will
believe that I did not do this on purpose?"
"No sentimentality, comrade!" cried Snowball from whose wounds
the blood was still dripping. "War is war. The only good human
being is a dead one."
"I have no wish to take life, not even human life," repeated
Boxer, and his eyes were full of tears.
"Where is Mollie?" exclaimed somebody.
Mollie in fact was missing. For a moment there was great
alarm; it was feared that the men might have harmed her in some
way, or even carried her off with them. In the end, however, she
was found hiding in her stall with her head buried among the hay
in the manger. She had taken to flight as soon as the gun went
off. And when the others came back from looking for her, it was
to find that the stable-lad, who in fact was only stunned, had
already recovered and made off.
The animals had now reassembled in the wildest excitement,
each recounting his own exploits in the battle at the top of his
voice. An impromptu celebration of the victory was held
immediately. The flag was run up and 'Beasts of England' was sung
a number of times, then the sheep who had been killed was given a
solemn funeral, a hawthorn bush being planted on her grave. At
the graveside Snowball made a little speech, emphasising the need
for all animals to be ready to die for Animal Farm if need
The animals decided unanimously to create a military
decoration, "Animal Hero, First Class," which was conferred there
and then on Snowball and Boxer. It consisted of a brass medal
(they were really some old horse-brasses which had been found in
the harness-room), to be worn on Sundays and holidays. There was
also "Animal Hero, Second Class," which was conferred
posthumously on the dead sheep.
There was much discussion as to what the battle should be
called. In the end, it was named the Battle of the Cowshed, since
that was where the ambush had been sprung. Mr. Jones's gun had
been found lying in the mud, and it was known that there was a
supply of cartridges in the farmhouse. It was decided to set the
gun up at the foot of the Flagstaff, like a piece of artillery,
and to fire it twice a year--once on October the twelfth, the
anniversary of the Battle of the Cowshed, and once on Midsummer
Day, the anniversary of the Rebellion.
As winter drew on, Mollie became more and more troublesome.
She was late for work every morning and excused herself by saying
that she had overslept, and she complained of mysterious pains,
although her appetite was excellent. On every kind of pretext she
would run away from work and go to the drinking pool, where she
would stand foolishly gazing at her own reflection in the water.
But there were also rumours of something more serious. One day,
as Mollie strolled blithely into the yard, flirting her long tail
and chewing at a stalk of hay, Clover took her aside.
"Mollie," she said, "I have something very serious to say to
you. This morning I saw you looking over the hedge that divides
Animal Farm from Foxwood. One of Mr. Pilkington's men was
standing on the other side of the hedge. And--I was a long way
away, but I am almost certain I saw this--he was talking to you
and you were allowing him to stroke your nose. What does that
"He didn't! I wasn't! It isn't true!" cried Mollie, beginning
to prance about and paw the ground.
"Mollie! Look me in the face. Do you give me your word of
honour that that man was not stroking your nose?"
"It isn't true!" repeated Mollie, but she could not look
Clover in the face, and the next moment she took to her heels and
galloped away into the field.
A thought struck Clover. Without saying anything to the
others, she went to Mollie's stall and turned over the straw with
her hoof. Hidden under the straw was a little pile of lump sugar
and several bunches of ribbon of different colours.
Three days later Mollie disappeared. For some weeks nothing
was known of her whereabouts, then the pigeons reported that they
had seen her on the other side of Willingdon. She was between the
shafts of a smart dogcart painted red and black, which was
standing outside a public-house. A fat red-faced man in check
breeches and gaiters, who looked like a publican, was stroking
her nose and feeding her with sugar. Her coat was newly clipped
and she wore a scarlet ribbon round her forelock. She appeared to
be enjoying herself, so the pigeons said. None of the animals
ever mentioned Mollie again.
In January there came bitterly hard weather. The earth was
like iron, and nothing could be done in the fields. Many meetings
were held in the big barn, and the pigs occupied themselves with
planning out the work of the coming season. It had come to be
accepted that the pigs, who were manifestly cleverer than the
other animals, should decide all questions of farm policy, though
their decisions had to be ratified by a majority vote. This
arrangement would have worked well enough if it had not been for
the disputes between Snowball and Napoleon. These two disagreed
at every point where disagreement was possible. If one of them
suggested sowing a bigger acreage with barley, the other was
certain to demand a bigger acreage of oats, and if one of them
said that such and such a field was just right for cabbages, the
other would declare that it was useless for anything except
roots. Each had his own following, and there were some violent
debates. At the Meetings Snowball often won over the majority by
his brilliant speeches, but Napoleon was better at canvassing
support for himself in between times. He was especially
successful with the sheep. Of late the sheep had taken to
bleating "Four legs good, two legs bad" both in and out of
season, and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. It was
noticed that they were especially liable to break into "Four legs
good, two legs bad" at crucial moments in Snowball's speeches.
Snowball had made a close study of some back numbers of the
'Farmer and Stockbreeder' which he had found in the farmhouse,
and was full of plans for innovations and improvements. He talked
learnedly about field drains, silage, and basic slag, and had
worked out a complicated scheme for all the animals to drop their
dung directly in the fields, at a different spot every day, to
save the labour of cartage. Napoleon produced no schemes of his
own, but said quietly that Snowball's would come to nothing, and
seemed to be biding his time. But of all their controversies,
none was so bitter as the one that took place over the
In the long pasture, not far from the farm buildings, there
was a small knoll which was the highest point on the farm. After
surveying the ground, Snowball declared that this was just the
place for a windmill, which could be made to operate a dynamo and
supply the farm with electrical power. This would light the
stalls and warm them in winter, and would also run a circular
saw, a chaff-cutter, a mangel-slicer, and an electric milking
machine. The animals had never heard of anything of this kind
before (for the farm was an old-fashioned one and had only the
most primitive machinery), and they listened in astonishment
while Snowball conjured up pictures of fantastic machines which
would do their work for them while they grazed at their ease in
the fields or improved their minds with reading and
Within a few weeks Snowball's plans for the windmill were
fully worked out. The mechanical details came mostly from three
books which had belonged to Mr. Jones--'One Thousand Useful
Things to Do About the House', 'Every Man His Own Bricklayer',
and 'Electricity for Beginners'. Snowball used as his study a
shed which had once been used for incubators and had a smooth
wooden floor, suitable for drawing on. He was closeted there for
hours at a time. With his books held open by a stone, and with a
piece of chalk gripped between the knuckles of his trotter, he
would move rapidly to and fro, drawing in line after line and
uttering little whimpers of excitement. Gradually the plans grew
into a complicated mass of cranks and cog-wheels, covering more
than half the floor, which the other animals found completely
unintelligible but very impressive. All of them came to look at
Snowball's drawings at least once a day. Even the hens and ducks
came, and were at pains not to tread on the chalk marks. Only
Napoleon held aloof. He had declared himself against the windmill
from the start. One day, however, he arrived unexpectedly to
examine the plans. He walked heavily round the shed, looked
closely at every detail of the plans and snuffed at them once or
twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of
the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated
over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word.
The whole farm was deeply divided on the subject of the
windmill. Snowball did not deny that to build it would be a
difficult business. Stone would have to be carried and built up
into walls, then the sails would have to be made and after that
there would be need for dynamos and cables. (How these were to be
procured, Snowball did not say.) But he maintained that it could
all be done in a year. And thereafter, he declared, so much
labour would be saved that the animals would only need to work
three days a week. Napoleon, on the other hand, argued that the
great need of the moment was to increase food production, and
that if they wasted time on the windmill they would all starve to
death. The animals formed themselves into two factions under the
slogan, "Vote for Snowball and the three-day week" and "Vote for
Napoleon and the full manger." Benjamin was the only animal who
did not side with either faction. He refused to believe either
that food would become more plentiful or that the windmill would
save work. Windmill or no windmill, he said, life would go on as
it had always gone on--that is, badly.
Apart from the disputes over the windmill, there was the
question of the defence of the farm. It was fully realised that
though the human beings had been defeated in the Battle of the
Cowshed they might make another and more determined attempt to
recapture the farm and reinstate Mr. Jones. They had all the more
reason for doing so because the news of their defeat had spread
across the countryside and made the animals on the neighbouring
farms more restive than ever. As usual, Snowball and Napoleon
were in disagreement. According to Napoleon, what the animals
must do was to procure firearms and train themselves in the use
of them. According to Snowball, they must send out more and more
pigeons and stir up rebellion among the animals on the other
farms. The one argued that if they could not defend themselves
they were bound to be conquered, the other argued that if
rebellions happened everywhere they would have no need to defend
themselves. The animals listened first to Napoleon, then to
Snowball, and could not make up their minds which was right;
indeed, they always found themselves in agreement with the one
who was speaking at the moment.
At last the day came when Snowball's plans were completed. At
the Meeting on the following Sunday the question of whether or
not to begin work on the windmill was to be put to the vote. When
the animals had assembled in the big barn, Snowball stood up and,
though occasionally interrupted by bleating from the sheep, set
forth his reasons for advocating the building of the windmill.
Then Napoleon stood up to reply. He said very quietly that the
windmill was nonsense and that he advised nobody to vote for it,
and promptly sat down again; he had spoken for barely thirty
seconds, and seemed almost indifferent as to the effect he
produced. At this Snowball sprang to his feet, and shouting down
the sheep, who had begun bleating again, broke into a passionate
appeal in favour of the windmill. Until now the animals had been
about equally divided in their sympathies, but in a moment
Snowball's eloquence had carried them away. In glowing sentences
he painted a picture of Animal Farm as it might be when sordid
labour was lifted from the animals' backs. His imagination had
now run far beyond chaff-cutters and turnip-slicers. Electricity,
he said, could operate threshing machines, ploughs, harrows,
rollers, and reapers and binders, besides supplying every stall
with its own electric light, hot and cold water, and an electric
heater. By the time he had finished speaking, there was no doubt
as to which way the vote would go. But just at this moment
Napoleon stood up and, casting a peculiar sidelong look at
Snowball, uttered a high-pitched whimper of a kind no one had
ever heard him utter before.
At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine
enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into
the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from
his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws. In a moment
he was out of the door and they were after him. Too amazed and
frightened to speak, all the animals crowded through the door to
watch the chase. Snowball was racing across the long pasture that
led to the road. He was running as only a pig can run, but the
dogs were close on his heels. Suddenly he slipped and it seemed
certain that they had him. Then he was up again, running faster
than ever, then the dogs were gaining on him again. One of them
all but closed his jaws on Snowball's tail, but Snowball whisked
it free just in time. Then he put on an extra spurt and, with a
few inches to spare, slipped through a hole in the hedge and was
seen no more.
Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn. In
a moment the dogs came bounding back. At first no one had been
able to imagine where these creatures came from, but the problem
was soon solved: they were the puppies whom Napoleon had taken
away from their mothers and reared privately. Though not yet
full-grown, they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves.
They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged
their tails to him in the same way as the other dogs had been
used to do to Mr. Jones.
Napoleon, with the dogs following him, now mounted on to the
raised portion of the floor where Major had previously stood to
deliver his speech. He announced that from now on the
Sunday-morning Meetings would come to an end. They were
unnecessary, he said, and wasted time. In future all questions
relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special
committee of pigs, presided over by himself. These would meet in
private and afterwards communicate their decisions to the others.
The animals would still assemble on Sunday mornings to salute the
flag, sing 'Beasts of England', and receive their orders for the
week; but there would be no more debates.
In spite of the shock that Snowball's expulsion had given
them, the animals were dismayed by this announcement. Several of
them would have protested if they could have found the right
arguments. Even Boxer was vaguely troubled. He set his ears back,
shook his forelock several times, and tried hard to marshal his
thoughts; but in the end he could not think of anything to say.
Some of the pigs themselves, however, were more articulate. Four
young porkers in the front row uttered shrill squeals of
disapproval, and all four of them sprang to their feet and began
speaking at once. But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon
let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat
down again. Then the sheep broke out into a tremendous bleating
of "Four legs good, two legs bad!" which went on for nearly a
quarter of an hour and put an end to any chance of
Afterwards Squealer was sent round the farm to explain the new
arrangement to the others.
"Comrades," he said, "I trust that every animal here
appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in
taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades,
that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and
heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade
Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy
to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you
might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should
we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his
moonshine of windmills--Snowball, who, as we now know, was no
better than a criminal?"
"He fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed," said
"Bravery is not enough," said Squealer. "Loyalty and obedience
are more important. And as to the Battle of the Cowshed, I
believe the time will come when we shall find that Snowball's
part in it was much exaggerated. Discipline, comrades, iron
discipline! That is the watchword for today. One false step, and
our enemies would be upon us. Surely, comrades, you do not want
Once again this argument was unanswerable. Certainly the
animals did not want Jones back; if the holding of debates on
Sunday mornings was liable to bring him back, then the debates
must stop. Boxer, who had now had time to think things over,
voiced the general feeling by saying: "If Comrade Napoleon says
it, it must be right." And from then on he adopted the maxim,
"Napoleon is always right," in addition to his private motto of
"I will work harder."
By this time the weather had broken and the spring ploughing
had begun. The shed where Snowball had drawn his plans of the
windmill had been shut up and it was assumed that the plans had
been rubbed off the floor. Every Sunday morning at ten o'clock
the animals assembled in the big barn to receive their orders for
the week. The skull of old Major, now clean of flesh, had been
disinterred from the orchard and set up on a stump at the foot of
the flagstaff, beside the gun. After the hoisting of the flag,
the animals were required to file past the skull in a reverent
manner before entering the barn. Nowadays they did not sit all
together as they had done in the past. Napoleon, with Squealer
and another pig named Minimus, who had a remarkable gift for
composing songs and poems, sat on the front of the raised
platform, with the nine young dogs forming a semicircle round
them, and the other pigs sitting behind. The rest of the animals
sat facing them in the main body of the barn. Napoleon read out
the orders for the week in a gruff soldierly style, and after a
single singing of 'Beasts of England', all the animals
On the third Sunday after Snowball's expulsion, the animals
were somewhat surprised to hear Napoleon announce that the
windmill was to be built after all. He did not give any reason
for having changed his mind, but merely warned the animals that
this extra task would mean very hard work, it might even be
necessary to reduce their rations. The plans, however, had all
been prepared, down to the last detail. A special committee of
pigs had been at work upon them for the past three weeks. The
building of the windmill, with various other improvements, was
expected to take two years.
That evening Squealer explained privately to the other animals
that Napoleon had never in reality been opposed to the windmill.
On the contrary, it was he who had advocated it in the beginning,
and the plan which Snowball had drawn on the floor of the
incubator shed had actually been stolen from among Napoleon's
papers. The windmill was, in fact, Napoleon's own creation. Why,
then, asked somebody, had he spoken so strongly against it? Here
Squealer looked very sly. That, he said, was Comrade Napoleon's
cunning. He had SEEMED to oppose the windmill, simply as a
manoeuvre to get rid of Snowball, who was a dangerous character
and a bad influence. Now that Snowball was out of the way, the
plan could go forward without his interference. This, said
Squealer, was something called tactics. He repeated a number of
times, "Tactics, comrades, tactics!" skipping round and whisking
his tail with a merry laugh. The animals were not certain what
the word meant, but Squealer spoke so persuasively, and the three
dogs who happened to be with him growled so threateningly, that
they accepted his explanation without further questions.
All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were
happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well
aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of
themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and
not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.
Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty-hour
week, and in August Napoleon announced that there would be work
on Sunday afternoons as well. This work was strictly voluntary,
but any animal who absented himself from it would have his
rations reduced by half. Even so, it was found necessary to leave
certain tasks undone. The harvest was a little less successful
than in the previous year, and two fields which should have been
sown with roots in the early summer were not sown because the
ploughing had not been completed early enough. It was possible to
foresee that the coming winter would be a hard one.
The windmill presented unexpected difficulties. There was a
good quarry of limestone on the farm, and plenty of sand and
cement had been found in one of the outhouses, so that all the
materials for building were at hand. But the problem the animals
could not at first solve was how to break up the stone into
pieces of suitable size. There seemed no way of doing this except
with picks and crowbars, which no animal could use, because no
animal could stand on his hind legs. Only after weeks of vain
effort did the right idea occur to somebody-namely, to utilise
the force of gravity. Huge boulders, far too big to be used as
they were, were lying all over the bed of the quarry. The animals
lashed ropes round these, and then all together, cows, horses,
sheep, any animal that could lay hold of the rope--even the pigs
sometimes joined in at critical moments--they dragged them with
desperate slowness up the slope to the top of the quarry, where
they were toppled over the edge, to shatter to pieces below.
Transporting the stone when it was once broken was comparatively
simple. The horses carried it off in cart-loads, the sheep
dragged single blocks, even Muriel and Benjamin yoked themselves
into an old governess-cart and did their share. By late summer a
sufficient store of stone had accumulated, and then the building
began, under the superintendence of the pigs.
But it was a slow, laborious process. Frequently it took a
whole day of exhausting effort to drag a single boulder to the
top of the quarry, and sometimes when it was pushed over the edge
it failed to break. Nothing could have been achieved without
Boxer, whose strength seemed equal to that of all the rest of the
animals put together. When the boulder began to slip and the
animals cried out in despair at finding themselves dragged down
the hill, it was always Boxer who strained himself against the
rope and brought the boulder to a stop. To see him toiling up the
slope inch by inch, his breath coming fast, the tips of his hoofs
clawing at the ground, and his great sides matted with sweat,
filled everyone with admiration. Clover warned him sometimes to
be careful not to overstrain himself, but Boxer would never
listen to her. His two slogans, "I will work harder" and
"Napoleon is always right," seemed to him a sufficient answer to
all problems. He had made arrangements with the cockerel to call
him three-quarters of an hour earlier in the mornings instead of
half an hour. And in his spare moments, of which there were not
many nowadays, he would go alone to the quarry, collect a load of
broken stone, and drag it down to the site of the windmill
The animals were not badly off throughout that summer, in
spite of the hardness of their work. If they had no more food
than they had had in Jones's day, at least they did not have
less. The advantage of only having to feed themselves, and not
having to support five extravagant human beings as well, was so
great that it would have taken a lot of failures to outweigh it.
And in many ways the animal method of doing things was more
efficient and saved labour. Such jobs as weeding, for instance,
could be done with a thoroughness impossible to human beings. And
again, since no animal now stole, it was unnecessary to fence off
pasture from arable land, which saved a lot of labour on the
upkeep of hedges and gates. Nevertheless, as the summer wore on,
various unforeseen shortages began to make them selves felt.
There was need of paraffin oil, nails, string, dog biscuits, and
iron for the horses' shoes, none of which could be produced on
the farm. Later there would also be need for seeds and artificial
manures, besides various tools and, finally, the machinery for
the windmill. How these were to be procured, no one was able to
One Sunday morning, when the animals assembled to receive
their orders, Napoleon announced that he had decided upon a new
policy. From now onwards Animal Farm would engage in trade with
the neighbouring farms: not, of course, for any commercial
purpose, but simply in order to obtain certain materials which
were urgently necessary. The needs of the windmill must override
everything else, he said. He was therefore making arrangements to
sell a stack of hay and part of the current year's wheat crop,
and later on, if more money were needed, it would have to be made
up by the sale of eggs, for which there was always a market in
Willingdon. The hens, said Napoleon, should welcome this
sacrifice as their own special contribution towards the building
of the windmill.
Once again the animals were conscious of a vague uneasiness.
Never to have any dealings with human beings, never to engage in
trade, never to make use of money--had not these been among the
earliest resolutions passed at that first triumphant Meeting
after Jones was expelled? All the animals remembered passing such
resolutions: or at least they thought that they remembered it.
The four young pigs who had protested when Napoleon abolished the
Meetings raised their voices timidly, but they were promptly
silenced by a tremendous growling from the dogs. Then, as usual,
the sheep broke into "Four legs good, two legs bad!" and the
momentary awkwardness was smoothed over. Finally Napoleon raised
his trotter for silence and announced that he had already made
all the arrangements. There would be no need for any of the
animals to come in contact with human beings, which would clearly
be most undesirable. He intended to take the whole burden upon
his own shoulders. A Mr. Whymper, a solicitor living in
Willingdon, had agreed to act as intermediary between Animal Farm
and the outside world, and would visit the farm every Monday
morning to receive his instructions. Napoleon ended his speech
with his usual cry of "Long live Animal Farm!" and after the
singing of 'Beasts of England' the animals were dismissed.
Afterwards Squealer made a round of the farm and set the
animals' minds at rest. He assured them that the resolution
against engaging in trade and using money had never been passed,
or even suggested. It was pure imagination, probably traceable in
the beginning to lies circulated by Snowball. A few animals still
felt faintly doubtful, but Squealer asked them shrewdly, "Are you
certain that this is not something that you have dreamed,
comrades? Have you any record of such a resolution? Is it written
down anywhere?" And since it was certainly true that nothing of
the kind existed in writing, the animals were satisfied that they
had been mistaken.
Every Monday Mr. Whymper visited the farm as had been
arranged. He was a sly-looking little man with side whiskers, a
solicitor in a very small way of business, but sharp enough to
have realised earlier than anyone else that Animal Farm would
need a broker and that the commissions would be worth having. The
animals watched his coming and going with a kind of dread, and
avoided him as much as possible. Nevertheless, the sight of
Napoleon, on all fours, delivering orders to Whymper, who stood
on two legs, roused their pride and partly reconciled them to the
new arrangement. Their relations with the human race were now not
quite the same as they had been before. The human beings did not
hate Animal Farm any less now that it was prospering; indeed,
they hated it more than ever. Every human being held it as an
article of faith that the farm would go bankrupt sooner or later,
and, above all, that the windmill would be a failure. They would
meet in the public-houses and prove to one another by means of
diagrams that the windmill was bound to fall down, or that if it
did stand up, then that it would never work. And yet, against
their will, they had developed a certain respect for the
efficiency with which the animals were managing their own
affairs. One symptom of this was that they had begun to call
Animal Farm by its proper name and ceased to pretend that it was
called the Manor Farm. They had also dropped their championship
of Jones, who had given up hope of getting his farm back and gone
to live in another part of the county. Except through Whymper,
there was as yet no contact between Animal Farm and the outside
world, but there were constant rumours that Napoleon was about to
enter into a definite business agreement either with Mr.
Pilkington of Foxwood or with Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield--but
never, it was noticed, with both simultaneously.
It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the
farmhouse and took up their residence there. Again the animals
seemed to remember that a resolution against this had been passed
in the early days, and again Squealer was able to convince them
that this was not the case. It was absolutely necessary, he said,
that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a
quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of
the Leader (for of late he had taken to speaking of Napoleon
under the title of "Leader") to live in a house than in a mere
sty. Nevertheless, some of the animals were disturbed when they
heard that the pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and
used the drawing-room as a recreation room, but also slept in the
beds. Boxer passed it off as usual with "Napoleon is always
right!", but Clover, who thought she remembered a definite ruling
against beds, went to the end of the barn and tried to puzzle out
the Seven Commandments which were inscribed there. Finding
herself unable to read more than individual letters, she fetched
"Muriel," she said, "read me the Fourth Commandment. Does it
not say something about never sleeping in a bed?"
With some difficulty Muriel spelt it out.
"It says, 'No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets,"' she
Curiously enough, Clover had not remembered that the Fourth
Commandment mentioned sheets; but as it was there on the wall, it
must have done so. And Squealer, who happened to be passing at
this moment, attended by two or three dogs, was able to put the
whole matter in its proper perspective.
"You have heard then, comrades," he said, "that we pigs now
sleep in the beds of the farmhouse? And why not? You did not
suppose, surely, that there was ever a ruling against beds? A bed
merely means a place to sleep in. A pile of straw in a stall is a
bed, properly regarded. The rule was against sheets, which are a
human invention. We have removed the sheets from the farmhouse
beds, and sleep between blankets. And very comfortable beds they
are too! But not more comfortable than we need, I can tell you,
comrades, with all the brainwork we have to do nowadays. You
would not rob us of our repose, would you, comrades? You would
not have us too tired to carry out our duties? Surely none of you
wishes to see Jones back?"
The animals reassured him on this point immediately, and no
more was said about the pigs sleeping in the farmhouse beds. And
when, some days afterwards, it was announced that from now on the
pigs would get up an hour later in the mornings than the other
animals, no complaint was made about that either.
By the autumn the animals were tired but happy. They had had a
hard year, and after the sale of part of the hay and corn, the
stores of food for the winter were none too plentiful, but the
windmill compensated for everything. It was almost half built
now. After the harvest there was a stretch of clear dry weather,
and the animals toiled harder than ever, thinking it well worth
while to plod to and fro all day with blocks of stone if by doing
so they could raise the walls another foot. Boxer would even come
out at nights and work for an hour or two on his own by the light
of the harvest moon. In their spare moments the animals would
walk round and round the half-finished mill, admiring the
strength and perpendicularity of its walls and marvelling that
they should ever have been able to build anything so imposing.
Only old Benjamin refused to grow enthusiastic about the
windmill, though, as usual, he would utter nothing beyond the
cryptic remark that donkeys live a long time.
November came, with raging south-west winds. Building had to
stop because it was now too wet to mix the cement. Finally there
came a night when the gale was so violent that the farm buildings
rocked on their foundations and several tiles were blown off the
roof of the barn. The hens woke up squawking with terror because
they had all dreamed simultaneously of hearing a gun go off in
the distance. In the morning the animals came out of their stalls
to find that the flagstaff had been blown down and an elm tree at
the foot of the orchard had been plucked up like a radish. They
had just noticed this when a cry of despair broke from every
animal's throat. A terrible sight had met their eyes. The
windmill was in ruins.
With one accord they dashed down to the spot. Napoleon, who
seldom moved out of a walk, raced ahead of them all. Yes, there
it lay, the fruit of all their struggles, levelled to its
foundations, the stones they had broken and carried so
laboriously scattered all around. Unable at first to speak, they
stood gazing mournfully at the litter of fallen stone. Napoleon
paced to and fro in silence, occasionally snuffing at the ground.
His tail had grown rigid and twitched sharply from side to side,
a sign in him of intense mental activity. Suddenly he halted as
though his mind were made up.
"Comrades," he said quietly, "do you know who is responsible
for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and
overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!" he suddenly roared in a voice
of thunder. "Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity,
thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his
ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of
night and destroyed our work of nearly a year. Comrades, here and
now I pronounce the death sentence upon Snowball. 'Animal Hero,
Second Class,' and half a bushel of apples to any animal who
brings him to justice. A full bushel to anyone who captures him
The animals were shocked beyond measure to learn that even
Snowball could be guilty of such an action. There was a cry of
indignation, and everyone began thinking out ways of catching
Snowball if he should ever come back. Almost immediately the
footprints of a pig were discovered in the grass at a little
distance from the knoll. They could only be traced for a few
yards, but appeared to lead to a hole in the hedge. Napoleon
snuffed deeply at them and pronounced them to be Snowball's. He
gave it as his opinion that Snowball had probably come from the
direction of Foxwood Farm.
"No more delays, comrades!" cried Napoleon when the footprints
had been examined. "There is work to be done. This very morning
we begin rebuilding the windmill, and we will build all through
the winter, rain or shine. We will teach this miserable traitor
that he cannot undo our work so easily. Remember, comrades, there
must be no alteration in our plans: they shall be carried out to
the day. Forward, comrades! Long live the windmill! Long live
It was a bitter winter. The stormy weather was followed by
sleet and snow, and then by a hard frost which did not break till
well into February. The animals carried on as best they could
with the rebuilding of the windmill, well knowing that the
outside world was watching them and that the envious human beings
would rejoice and triumph if the mill were not finished on
Out of spite, the human beings pretended not to believe that
it was Snowball who had destroyed the windmill: they said that it
had fallen down because the walls were too thin. The animals knew
that this was not the case. Still, it had been decided to build
the walls three feet thick this time instead of eighteen inches
as before, which meant collecting much larger quantities of
stone. For a long time the quarry was full of snowdrifts and
nothing could be done. Some progress was made in the dry frosty
weather that followed, but it was cruel work, and the animals
could not feel so hopeful about it as they had felt before. They
were always cold, and usually hungry as well. Only Boxer and
Clover never lost heart. Squealer made excellent speeches on the
joy of service and the dignity of labour, but the other animals
found more inspiration in Boxer's strength and his never-failing
cry of "I will work harder!"
In January food fell short. The corn ration was drastically
reduced, and it was announced that an extra potato ration would
be issued to make up for it. Then it was discovered that the
greater part of the potato crop had been frosted in the clamps,
which had not been covered thickly enough. The potatoes had
become soft and discoloured, and only a few were edible. For days
at a time the animals had nothing to eat but chaff and mangels.
Starvation seemed to stare them in the face.
It was vitally necessary to conceal this fact from the outside
world. Emboldened by the collapse of the windmill, the human
beings were inventing fresh lies about Animal Farm. Once again it
was being put about that all the animals were dying of famine and
disease, and that they were continually fighting among themselves
and had resorted to cannibalism and infanticide. Napoleon was
well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts
of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of
Mr. Whymper to spread a contrary impression. Hitherto the animals
had had little or no contact with Whymper on his weekly visits:
now, however, a few selected animals, mostly sheep, were
instructed to remark casually in his hearing that rations had
been increased. In addition, Napoleon ordered the almost empty
bins in the store-shed to be filled nearly to the brim with sand,
which was then covered up with what remained of the grain and
meal. On some suitable pretext Whymper was led through the
store-shed and allowed to catch a glimpse of the bins. He was
deceived, and continued to report to the outside world that there
was no food shortage on Animal Farm.
Nevertheless, towards the end of January it became obvious
that it would be necessary to procure some more grain from
somewhere. In these days Napoleon rarely appeared in public, but
spent all his time in the farmhouse, which was guarded at each
door by fierce-looking dogs. When he did emerge, it was in a
ceremonial manner, with an escort of six dogs who closely
surrounded him and growled if anyone came too near. Frequently he
did not even appear on Sunday mornings, but issued his orders
through one of the other pigs, usually Squealer.
One Sunday morning Squealer announced that the hens, who had
just come in to lay again, must surrender their eggs. Napoleon
had accepted, through Whymper, a contract for four hundred eggs a
week. The price of these would pay for enough grain and meal to
keep the farm going till summer came on and conditions were
When the hens heard this, they raised a terrible outcry. They
had been warned earlier that this sacrifice might be necessary,
but had not believed that it would really happen. They were just
getting their clutches ready for the spring sitting, and they
protested that to take the eggs away now was murder. For the
first time since the expulsion of Jones, there was something
resembling a rebellion. Led by three young Black Minorca pullets,
the hens made a determined effort to thwart Napoleon's wishes.
Their method was to fly up to the rafters and there lay their
eggs, which smashed to pieces on the floor. Napoleon acted
swiftly and ruthlessly. He ordered the hens' rations to be
stopped, and decreed that any animal giving so much as a grain of
corn to a hen should be punished by death. The dogs saw to it
that these orders were carried out. For five days the hens held
out, then they capitulated and went back to their nesting boxes.
Nine hens had died in the meantime. Their bodies were buried in
the orchard, and it was given out that they had died of
coccidiosis. Whymper heard nothing of this affair, and the eggs
were duly delivered, a grocer's van driving up to the farm once a
week to take them away.
All this while no more had been seen of Snowball. He was
rumoured to be hiding on one of the neighbouring farms, either
Foxwood or Pinchfield. Napoleon was by this time on slightly
better terms with the other farmers than before. It happened that
there was in the yard a pile of timber which had been stacked
there ten years earlier when a beech spinney was cleared. It was
well seasoned, and Whymper had advised Napoleon to sell it; both
Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick were anxious to buy it. Napoleon
was hesitating between the two, unable to make up his mind. It
was noticed that whenever he seemed on the point of coming to an
agreement with Frederick, Snowball was declared to be in hiding
at Foxwood, while, when he inclined toward Pilkington, Snowball
was said to be at Pinchfield.
Suddenly, early in the spring, an alarming thing was
discovered. Snowball was secretly frequenting the farm by night!
The animals were so disturbed that they could hardly sleep in
their stalls. Every night, it was said, he came creeping in under
cover of darkness and performed all kinds of mischief. He stole
the corn, he upset the milk-pails, he broke the eggs, he trampled
the seedbeds, he gnawed the bark off the fruit trees. Whenever
anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball.
If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was
certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it,
and when the key of the store-shed was lost, the whole farm was
convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiously
enough, they went on believing this even after the mislaid key
was found under a sack of meal. The cows declared unanimously
that Snowball crept into their stalls and milked them in their
sleep. The rats, which had been troublesome that winter, were
also said to be in league with Snowball.
Napoleon decreed that there should be a full investigation
into Snowball's activities. With his dogs in attendance he set
out and made a careful tour of inspection of the farm buildings,
the other animals following at a respectful distance. At every
few steps Napoleon stopped and snuffed the ground for traces of
Snowball's footsteps, which, he said, he could detect by the
smell. He snuffed in every corner, in the barn, in the cow-shed,
in the henhouses, in the vegetable garden, and found traces of
Snowball almost everywhere. He would put his snout to the ground,
give several deep sniffs, ad exclaim in a terrible voice,
"Snowball! He has been here! I can smell him distinctly!" and at
the word "Snowball" all the dogs let out blood-curdling growls
and showed their side teeth.
The animals were thoroughly frightened. It seemed to them as
though Snowball were some kind of invisible influence, pervading
the air about them and menacing them with all kinds of dangers.
In the evening Squealer called them together, and with an alarmed
expression on his face told them that he had some serious news to
"Comrades!" cried Squealer, making little nervous skips, "a
most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold
himself to Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting
to attack us and take our farm away from us! Snowball is to act
as his guide when the attack begins. But there is worse than
that. We had thought that Snowball's rebellion was caused simply
by his vanity and ambition. But we were wrong, comrades. Do you
know what the real reason was? Snowball was in league with Jones
from the very start! He was Jones's secret agent all the time. It
has all been proved by documents which he left behind him and
which we have only just discovered. To my mind this explains a
great deal, comrades. Did we not see for ourselves how he
attempted--fortunately without success--to get us defeated and
destroyed at the Battle of the Cowshed?"
The animals were stupefied. This was a wickedness far outdoing
Snowball's destruction of the windmill. But it was some minutes
before they could fully take it in. They all remembered, or
thought they remembered, how they had seen Snowball charging
ahead of them at the Battle of the Cowshed, how he had rallied
and encouraged them at every turn, and how he had not paused for
an instant even when the pellets from Jones's gun had wounded his
back. At first it was a little difficult to see how this fitted
in with his being on Jones's side. Even Boxer, who seldom asked
questions, was puzzled. He lay down, tucked his fore hoofs
beneath him, shut his eyes, and with a hard effort managed to
formulate his thoughts.
"I do not believe that," he said. "Snowball fought bravely at
the Battle of the Cowshed. I saw him myself. Did we not give him
'Animal Hero, first Class,' immediately afterwards?"
"That was our mistake, comrade. For we know now--it is all
written down in the secret documents that we have found--that in
reality he was trying to lure us to our doom."
"But he was wounded," said Boxer. "We all saw him running with
"That was part of the arrangement!" cried Squealer. "Jones's
shot only grazed him. I could show you this in his own writing,
if you were able to read it. The plot was for Snowball, at the
critical moment, to give the signal for flight and leave the
field to the enemy. And he very nearly succeeded--I will even
say, comrades, he WOULD have succeeded if it had not been for our
heroic Leader, Comrade Napoleon. Do you not remember how, just at
the moment when Jones and his men had got inside the yard,
Snowball suddenly turned and fled, and many animals followed him?
And do you not remember, too, that it was just at that moment,
when panic was spreading and all seemed lost, that Comrade
Napoleon sprang forward with a cry of 'Death to Humanity!' and
sank his teeth in Jones's leg? Surely you remember THAT,
comrades?" exclaimed Squealer, frisking from side to side.
Now when Squealer described the scene so graphically, it
seemed to the animals that they did remember it. At any rate,
they remembered that at the critical moment of the battle
Snowball had turned to flee. But Boxer was still a little
"I do not believe that Snowball was a traitor at the
beginning," he said finally. "What he has done since is
different. But I believe that at the Battle of the Cowshed he was
a good comrade."
"Our Leader, Comrade Napoleon," announced Squealer, speaking
very slowly and firmly, "has stated categorically--categorically,
comrade--that Snowball was Jones's agent from the very
beginning--yes, and from long before the Rebellion was ever
"Ah, that is different!" said Boxer. "If Comrade Napoleon says
it, it must be right."
"That is the true spirit, comrade!" cried Squealer, but it was
noticed he cast a very ugly look at Boxer with his little
twinkling eyes. He turned to go, then paused and added
impressively: "I warn every animal on this farm to keep his eyes
very wide open. For we have reason to think that some of
Snowball's secret agents are lurking among us at this
Four days later, in the late afternoon, Napoleon ordered all
the animals to assemble in the yard. When they were all gathered
together, Napoleon emerged from the farmhouse, wearing both his
medals (for he had recently awarded himself "Animal Hero, First
Class", and "Animal Hero, Second Class"), with his nine huge dogs
frisking round him and uttering growls that sent shivers down all
the animals' spines. They all cowered silently in their places,
seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was about to
Napoleon stood sternly surveying his audience; then he uttered
a high-pitched whimper. Immediately the dogs bounded forward,
seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing
with pain and terror, to Napoleon's feet. The pigs' ears were
bleeding, the dogs had tasted blood, and for a few moments they
appeared to go quite mad. To the amazement of everybody, three of
them flung themselves upon Boxer. Boxer saw them coming and put
out his great hoof, caught a dog in mid-air, and pinned him to
the ground. The dog shrieked for mercy and the other two fled
with their tails between their legs. Boxer looked at Napoleon to
know whether he should crush the dog to death or let it go.
Napoleon appeared to change countenance, and sharply ordered
Boxer to let the dog go, whereat Boxer lifted his hoof, and the
dog slunk away, bruised and howling.
Presently the tumult died down. The four pigs waited,
trembling, with guilt written on every line of their
countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their
crimes. They were the same four pigs as had protested when
Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings. Without any further
prompting they confessed that they had been secretly in touch
with Snowball ever since his expulsion, that they had
collaborated with him in destroying the windmill, and that they
had entered into an agreement with him to hand over Animal Farm
to Mr. Frederick. They added that Snowball had privately admitted
to them that he had been Jones's secret agent for years past.
When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore
their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded
whether any other animal had anything to confess.
The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted
rebellion over the eggs now came forward and stated that Snowball
had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey
Napoleon's orders. They, too, were slaughtered. Then a goose came
forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn during
the last year's harvest and eaten them in the night. Then a sheep
confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool--urged to do
this, so she said, by Snowball--and two other sheep confessed to
having murdered an old ram, an especially devoted follower of
Napoleon, by chasing him round and round a bonfire when he was
suffering from a cough. They were all slain on the spot. And so
the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a
pile of corpses lying before Napoleon's feet and the air was
heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since
the expulsion of Jones.
When it was all over, the remaining animals, except for the
pigs and dogs, crept away in a body. They were shaken and
miserable. They did not know which was more shocking--the
treachery of the animals who had leagued themselves with
Snowball, or the cruel retribution they had just witnessed. In
the old days there had often been scenes of bloodshed equally
terrible, but it seemed to all of them that it was far worse now
that it was happening among themselves. Since Jones had left the
farm, until today, no animal had killed another animal. Not even
a rat had been killed. They had made their way on to the little
knoll where the half-finished windmill stood, and with one accord
they all lay down as though huddling together for warmth--Clover,
Muriel, Benjamin, the cows, the sheep, and a whole flock of geese
and hens--everyone, indeed, except the cat, who had suddenly
disappeared just before Napoleon ordered the animals to assemble.
For some time nobody spoke. Only Boxer remained on his feet. He
fidgeted to and fro, swishing his long black tail against his
sides and occasionally uttering a little whinny of surprise.
Finally he said:
"I do not understand it. I would not have believed that such
things could happen on our farm. It must be due to some fault in
ourselves. The solution, as I see it, is to work harder. From now
onwards I shall get up a full hour earlier in the mornings."
And he moved off at his lumbering trot and made for the
quarry. Having got there, he collected two successive loads of
stone and dragged them down to the windmill before retiring for
The animals huddled about Clover, not speaking. The knoll
where they were lying gave them a wide prospect across the
countryside. Most of Animal Farm was within their view--the long
pasture stretching down to the main road, the hayfield, the
spinney, the drinking pool, the ploughed fields where the young
wheat was thick and green, and the red roofs of the farm
buildings with the smoke curling from the chimneys. It was a
clear spring evening. The grass and the bursting hedges were
gilded by the level rays of the sun. Never had the farm--and with
a kind of surprise they remembered that it was their own farm,
every inch of it their own property--appeared to the animals so
desirable a place. As Clover looked down the hillside her eyes
filled with tears. If she could have spoken her thoughts, it
would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at
when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow
of the human race. These scenes of terror and slaughter were not
what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major
first stirred them to rebellion. If she herself had had any
picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set
free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according
to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak, as she had
protected the lost brood of ducklings with her foreleg on the
night of Major's speech. Instead--she did not know why--they had
come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce,
growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your
comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.
There was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her mind.
She knew that, even as things were, they were far better off than
they had been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it
was needful to prevent the return of the human beings. Whatever
happened she would remain faithful, work hard, carry out the
orders that were given to her, and accept the leadership of
Napoleon. But still, it was not for this that she and all the
other animals had hoped and toiled. It was not for this that they
had built the windmill and faced the bullets of Jones's gun. Such
were her thoughts, though she lacked the words to express
At last, feeling this to be in some way a substitute for the
words she was unable to find, she began to sing 'Beasts of
England'. The other animals sitting round her took it up, and
they sang it three times over--very tunefully, but slowly and
mournfully, in a way they had never sung it before.
They had just finished singing it for the third time when
Squealer, attended by two dogs, approached them with the air of
having something important to say. He announced that, by a
special decree of Comrade Napoleon, 'Beasts of England' had been
abolished. From now onwards it was forbidden to sing it.
The animals were taken aback.
"Why?" cried Muriel.
"It's no longer needed, comrade," said Squealer stiffly.
"'Beasts of England' was the song of the Rebellion. But the
Rebellion is now completed. The execution of the traitors this
afternoon was the final act. The enemy both external and internal
has been defeated. In 'Beasts of England' we expressed our
longing for a better society in days to come. But that society
has now been established. Clearly this song has no longer any
Frightened though they were, some of the animals might
possibly have protested, but at this moment the sheep set up
their usual bleating of "Four legs good, two legs bad," which
went on for several minutes and put an end to the discussion.
So 'Beasts of England' was heard no more. In its place
Minimus, the poet, had composed another song which began:
Animal Farm, Animal Farm,
Never through me shalt thou come to harm!
and this was sung every Sunday morning after the hoisting of
the flag. But somehow neither the words nor the tune ever seemed
to the animals to come up to 'Beasts of England'.
A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had
died down, some of the animals remembered--or thought they
remembered--that the Sixth Commandment decreed "No animal shall
kill any other animal." And though no one cared to mention it in
the hearing of the pigs or the dogs, it was felt that the
killings which had taken place did not square with this. Clover
asked Benjamin to read her the Sixth Commandment, and when
Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such
matters, she fetched Muriel. Muriel read the Commandment for her.
It ran: "No animal shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE."
Somehow or other, the last two words had slipped out of the
animals' memory. But they saw now that the Commandment had not
been violated; for clearly there was good reason for killing the
traitors who had leagued themselves with Snowball.
Throughout the year the animals worked even harder than they
had worked in the previous year. To rebuild the windmill, with
walls twice as thick as before, and to finish it by the appointed
date, together with the regular work of the farm, was a
tremendous labour. There were times when it seemed to the animals
that they worked longer hours and fed no better than they had
done in Jones's day. On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a
long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them
lists of figures proving that the production of every class of
foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred
per cent, or five hundred per cent, as the case might be. The
animals saw no reason to disbelieve him, especially as they could
no longer remember very clearly what conditions had been like
before the Rebellion. All the same, there were days when they
felt that they would sooner have had less figures and more
All orders were now issued through Squealer or one of the
other pigs. Napoleon himself was not seen in public as often as
once in a fortnight. When he did appear, he was attended not only
by his retinue of dogs but by a black cockerel who marched in
front of him and acted as a kind of trumpeter, letting out a loud
"cock-a-doodle-doo" before Napoleon spoke. Even in the farmhouse,
it was said, Napoleon inhabited separate apartments from the
others. He took his meals alone, with two dogs to wait upon him,
and always ate from the Crown Derby dinner service which had been
in the glass cupboard in the drawing-room. It was also announced
that the gun would be fired every year on Napoleon's birthday, as
well as on the other two anniversaries.
Napoleon was now never spoken of simply as "Napoleon." He was
always referred to in formal style as "our Leader, Comrade
Napoleon," and this pigs liked to invent for him such titles as
Father of All Animals, Terror of Mankind, Protector of the
Sheep-fold, Ducklings' Friend, and the like. In his speeches,
Squealer would talk with the tears rolling down his cheeks of
Napoleon's wisdom the goodness of his heart, and the deep love he
bore to all animals everywhere, even and especially the unhappy
animals who still lived in ignorance and slavery on other farms.
It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every
successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You
would often hear one hen remark to another, "Under the guidance
of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six
days"; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim,
"Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this
water tastes!" The general feeling on the farm was well expressed
in a poem entitled Comrade Napoleon, which was composed by
Minimus and which ran as follows:
Friend of fatherless!
Fountain of happiness!
Lord of the swill-bucket! Oh, how my soul is on
Fire when I gaze at thy
Calm and commanding eye,
Like the sun in the sky,
Thou are the giver of
All that thy creatures love,
Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon;
Every beast great or small
Sleeps at peace in his stall,
Thou watchest over all,
Had I a sucking-pig,
Ere he had grown as big
Even as a pint bottle or as a rolling-pin,
He should have learned to be
Faithful and true to thee,
Yes, his first squeak should be
Napoleon approved of this poem and caused it to be inscribed
on the wall of the big barn, at the opposite end from the Seven
Commandments. It was surmounted by a portrait of Napoleon, in
profile, executed by Squealer in white paint.
Meanwhile, through the agency of Whymper, Napoleon was engaged
in complicated negotiations with Frederick and Pilkington. The
pile of timber was still unsold. Of the two, Frederick was the
more anxious to get hold of it, but he would not offer a
reasonable price. At the same time there were renewed rumours
that Frederick and his men were plotting to attack Animal Farm
and to destroy the windmill, the building of which had aroused
furious jealousy in him. Snowball was known to be still skulking
on Pinchfield Farm. In the middle of the summer the animals were
alarmed to hear that three hens had come forward and confessed
that, inspired by Snowball, they had entered into a plot to
murder Napoleon. They were executed immediately, and fresh
precautions for Napoleon's safety were taken. Four dogs guarded
his bed at night, one at each corner, and a young pig named
Pinkeye was given the task of tasting all his food before he ate
it, lest it should be poisoned.
At about the same time it was given out that Napoleon had
arranged to sell the pile of timber to Mr. Pilkington; he was
also going to enter into a regular agreement for the exchange of
certain products between Animal Farm and Foxwood. The relations
between Napoleon and Pilkington, though they were only conducted
through Whymper, were now almost friendly. The animals distrusted
Pilkington, as a human being, but greatly preferred him to
Frederick, whom they both feared and hated. As the summer wore
on, and the windmill neared completion, the rumours of an
impending treacherous attack grew stronger and stronger.
Frederick, it was said, intended to bring against them twenty men
all armed with guns, and he had already bribed the magistrates
and police, so that if he could once get hold of the title-deeds
of Animal Farm they would ask no questions. Moreover, terrible
stories were leaking out from Pinchfield about the cruelties that
Frederick practised upon his animals. He had flogged an old horse
to death, he starved his cows, he had killed a dog by throwing it
into the furnace, he amused himself in the evenings by making
cocks fight with splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs.
The animals' blood boiled with rage when they heard of these
things beingdone to their comrades, and sometimes they clamoured
to be allowed to go out in a body and attack Pinchfield Farm,
drive out the humans, and set the animals free. But Squealer
counselled them to avoid rash actions and trust in Comrade
Nevertheless, feeling against Frederick continued to run high.
One Sunday morning Napoleon appeared in the barn and explained
that he had never at any time contemplated selling the pile of
timber to Frederick; he considered it beneath his dignity, he
said, to have dealings with scoundrels of that description. The
pigeons who were still sent out to spread tidings of the
Rebellion were forbidden to set foot anywhere on Foxwood, and
were also ordered to drop their former slogan of "Death to
Humanity" in favour of "Death to Frederick." In the late summer
yet another of Snowball's machinations was laid bare. The wheat
crop was full of weeds, and it was discovered that on one of his
nocturnal visits Snowball had mixed weed seeds with the seed
corn. A gander who had been privy to the plot had confessed his
guilt to Squealer and immediately committed suicide by swallowing
deadly nightshade berries. The animals now also learned that
Snowball had never--as many of them had believed
hitherto--received the order of "Animal Hero, First Class." This
was merely a legend which had been spread some time after the
Battle of the Cowshed by Snowball himself. So far from being
decorated, he had been censured for showing cowardice in the
battle. Once again some of the animals heard this with a certain
bewilderment, but Squealer was soon able to convince them that
their memories had been at fault.
In the autumn, by a tremendous, exhausting effort--for the
harvest had to be gathered at almost the same time--the windmill
was finished. The machinery had still to be installed, and
Whymper was negotiating the purchase of it, but the structure was
completed. In the teeth of every difficulty, in spite of
inexperience, of primitive implements, of bad luck and of
Snowball's treachery, the work had been finished punctually to
the very day! Tired out but proud, the animals walked round and
round their masterpiece, which appeared even more beautiful in
their eyes than when it had been built the first time. Moreover,
the walls were twice as thick as before. Nothing short of
explosives would lay them low this time! And when they thought of
how they had laboured, what discouragements they had overcome,
and the enormous difference that would be made in their lives
when the sails were turning and the dynamos running--when they
thought of all this, their tiredness forsook them and they
gambolled round and round the windmill, uttering cries of
triumph. Napoleon himself, attended by his dogs and his cockerel,
came down to inspect the completed work; he personally
congratulated the animals on their achievement, and announced
that the mill would be named Napoleon Mill.
Two days later the animals were called together for a special
meeting in the barn. They were struck dumb with surprise when
Napoleon announced that he had sold the pile of timber to
Frederick. Tomorrow Frederick's wagons would arrive and begin
carting it away. Throughout the whole period of his seeming
friendship with Pilkington, Napoleon had really been in secret
agreement with Frederick.
All relations with Foxwood had been broken off; insulting
messages had been sent to Pilkington. The pigeons had been told
to avoid Pinchfield Farm and to alter their slogan from "Death to
Frederick" to "Death to Pilkington." At the same time Napoleon
assured the animals that the stories of an impending attack on
Animal Farm were completely untrue, and that the tales about
Frederick's cruelty to his own animals had been greatly
exaggerated. All these rumours had probably originated with
Snowball and his agents. It now appeared that Snowball was not,
after all, hiding on Pinchfield Farm, and in fact had never been
there in his life: he was living--in considerable luxury, so it
was said--at Foxwood, and had in reality been a pensioner of
Pilkington for years past.
The pigs were in ecstasies over Napoleon's cunning. By seeming
to be friendly with Pilkington he had forced Frederick to raise
his price by twelve pounds. But the superior quality of
Napoleon's mind, said Squealer, was shown in the fact that he
trusted nobody, not even Frederick. Frederick had wanted to pay
for the timber with something called a cheque, which, it seemed,
was a piece of paper with a promise to pay written upon it. But
Napoleon was too clever for him. He had demanded payment in real
five-pound notes, which were to be handed over before the timber
was removed. Already Frederick had paid up; and the sum he had
paid was just enough to buy the machinery for the windmill.
Meanwhile the timber was being carted away at high speed. When
it was all gone, another special meeting was held in the barn for
the animals to inspect Frederick's bank-notes. Smiling
beatifically, and wearing both his decorations, Napoleon reposed
on a bed of straw on the platform, with the money at his side,
neatly piled on a china dish from the farmhouse kitchen. The
animals filed slowly past, and each gazed his fill. And Boxer put
out his nose to sniff at the bank-notes, and the flimsy white
things stirred and rustled in his breath.
Three days later there was a terrible hullabaloo. Whymper, his
face deadly pale, came racing up the path on his bicycle, flung
it down in the yard and rushed straight into the farmhouse. The
next moment a choking roar of rage sounded from Napoleon's
apartments. The news of what had happened sped round the farm
like wildfire. The banknotes were forgeries! Frederick had got
the timber for nothing!
Napoleon called the animals together immediately and in a
terrible voice pronounced the death sentence upon Frederick. When
captured, he said, Frederick should be boiled alive. At the same
time he warned them that after this treacherous deed the worst
was to be expected. Frederick and his men might make their
long-expected attack at any moment. Sentinels were placed at all
the approaches to the farm. In addition, four pigeons were sent
to Foxwood with a conciliatory message, which it was hoped might
re-establish good relations with Pilkington.
The very next morning the attack came. The animals were at
breakfast when the look-outs came racing in with the news that
Frederick and his followers had already come through the
five-barred gate. Boldly enough the animals sallied forth to meet
them, but this time they did not have the easy victory that they
had had in the Battle of the Cowshed. There were fifteen men,
with half a dozen guns between them, and they opened fire as soon
as they got within fifty yards. The animals could not face the
terrible explosions and the stinging pellets, and in spite of the
efforts of Napoleon and Boxer to rally them, they were soon
driven back. A number of them were already wounded. They took
refuge in the farm buildings and peeped cautiously out from
chinks and knot-holes. The whole of the big pasture, including
the windmill, was in the hands of the enemy. For the moment even
Napoleon seemed at a loss. He paced up and down without a word,
his tail rigid and twitching. Wistful glances were sent in the
direction of Foxwood. If Pilkington and his men would help them,
the day might yet be won. But at this moment the four pigeons,
who had been sent out on the day before, returned, one of them
bearing a scrap of paper from Pilkington. On it was pencilled the
words: "Serves you right."
Meanwhile Frederick and his men had halted about the windmill.
The animals watched them, and a murmur of dismay went round. Two
of the men had produced a crowbar and a sledge hammer. They were
going to knock the windmill down.
"Impossible!" cried Napoleon. "We have built the walls far too
thick for that. They could not knock it down in a week. Courage,
But Benjamin was watching the movements of the men intently.
The two with the hammer and the crowbar were drilling a hole near
the base of the windmill. Slowly, and with an air almost of
amusement, Benjamin nodded his long muzzle.
"I thought so," he said. "Do you not see what they are doing?
In another moment they are going to pack blasting powder into
Terrified, the animals waited. It was impossible now to
venture out of the shelter of the buildings. After a few minutes
the men were seen to be running in all directions. Then there was
a deafening roar. The pigeons swirled into the air, and all the
animals, except Napoleon, flung themselves flat on their bellies
and hid their faces. When they got up again, a huge cloud of
black smoke was hanging where the windmill had been. Slowly the
breeze drifted it away. The windmill had ceased to exist!
At this sight the animals' courage returned to them. The fear
and despair they had felt a moment earlier were drowned in their
rage against this vile, contemptible act. A mighty cry for
vengeance went up, and without waiting for further orders they
charged forth in a body and made straight for the enemy. This
time they did not heed the cruel pellets that swept over them
like hail. It was a savage, bitter battle. The men fired again
and again, and, when the animals got to close quarters, lashed
out with their sticks and their heavy boots. A cow, three sheep,
and two geese were killed, and nearly everyone was wounded. Even
Napoleon, who was directing operations from the rear, had the tip
of his tail chipped by a pellet. But the men did not go unscathed
either. Three of them had their heads broken by blows from
Boxer's hoofs; another was gored in the belly by a cow's horn;
another had his trousers nearly torn off by Jessie and Bluebell.
And when the nine dogs of Napoleon's own bodyguard, whom he had
instructed to make a detour under cover of the hedge, suddenly
appeared on the men's flank, baying ferociously, panic overtook
them. They saw that they were in danger of being surrounded.
Frederick shouted to his men to get out while the going was good,
and the next moment the cowardly enemy was running for dear life.
The animals chased them right down to the bottom of the field,
and got in some last kicks at them as they forced their way
through the thorn hedge.
They had won, but they were weary and bleeding. Slowly they
began to limp back towards the farm. The sight of their dead
comrades stretched upon the grass moved some of them to tears.
And for a little while they halted in sorrowful silence at the
place where the windmill had once stood. Yes, it was gone; almost
the last trace of their labour was gone! Even the foundations
were partially destroyed. And in rebuilding it they could not
this time, as before, make use of the fallen stones. This time
the stones had vanished too. The force of the explosion had flung
them to distances of hundreds of yards. It was as though the
windmill had never been.
As they approached the farm Squealer, who had unaccountably
been absent during the fighting, came skipping towards them,
whisking his tail and beaming with satisfaction. And the animals
heard, from the direction of the farm buildings, the solemn
booming of a gun.
"What is that gun firing for?" said Boxer.
"To celebrate our victory!" cried Squealer.
"What victory?" said Boxer. His knees were bleeding, he had
lost a shoe and split his hoof, and a dozen pellets had lodged
themselves in his hind leg.
"What victory, comrade? Have we not driven the enemy off our
soil--the sacred soil of Animal Farm?"
"But they have destroyed the windmill. And we had worked on it
for two years!"
"What matter? We will build another windmill. We will build
six windmills if we feel like it. You do not appreciate, comrade,
the mighty thing that we have done. The enemy was in occupation
of this very ground that we stand upon. And now--thanks to the
leadership of Comrade Napoleon--we have won every inch of it back
"Then we have won back what we had before," said Boxer.
"That is our victory," said Squealer.
They limped into the yard. The pellets under the skin of
Boxer's leg smarted painfully. He saw ahead of him the heavy
labour of rebuilding the windmill from the foundations, and
already in imagination he braced himself for the task. But for
the first time it occurred to him that he was eleven years old
and that perhaps his great muscles were not quite what they had
But when the animals saw the green flag flying, and heard the
gun firing again--seven times it was fired in all--and heard the
speech that Napoleon made, congratulating them on their conduct,
it did seem to them after all that they had won a great victory.
The animals slain in the battle were given a solemn funeral.
Boxer and Clover pulled the wagon which served as a hearse, and
Napoleon himself walked at the head of the procession. Two whole
days were given over to celebrations. There were songs, speeches,
and more firing of the gun, and a special gift of an apple was
bestowed on every animal, with two ounces of corn for each bird
and three biscuits for each dog. It was announced that the battle
would be called the Battle of the Windmill, and that Napoleon had
created a new decoration, the Order of the Green Banner, which he
had conferred upon himself. In the general rejoicings the
unfortunate affair of the banknotes was forgotten.
It was a few days later than this that the pigs came upon a
case of whisky in the cellars of the farmhouse. It had been
overlooked at the time when the house was first occupied. That
night there came from the farmhouse the sound of loud singing, in
which, to everyone's surprise, the strains of 'Beasts of England'
were mixed up. At about half past nine Napoleon, wearing an old
bowler hat of Mr. Jones's, was distinctly seen to emerge from the
back door, gallop rapidly round the yard, and disappear indoors
again. But in the morning a deep silence hung over the farmhouse.
Not a pig appeared to be stirring. It was nearly nine o'clock
when Squealer made his appearance, walking slowly and dejectedly,
his eyes dull, his tail hanging limply behind him, and with every
appearance of being seriously ill. He called the animals together
and told them that he had a terrible piece of news to impart.
Comrade Napoleon was dying!
A cry of lamentation went up. Straw was laid down outside the
doors of the farmhouse, and the animals walked on tiptoe. With
tears in their eyes they asked one another what they should do if
their Leader were taken away from them. A rumour went round that
Snowball had after all contrived to introduce poison into
Napoleon's food. At eleven o'clock Squealer came out to make
another announcement. As his last act upon earth, Comrade
Napoleon had pronounced a solemn decree: the drinking of alcohol
was to be punished by death.
By the evening, however, Napoleon appeared to be somewhat
better, and the following morning Squealer was able to tell them
that he was well on the way to recovery. By the evening of that
day Napoleon was back at work, and on the next day it was learned
that he had instructed Whymper to purchase in Willingdon some
booklets on brewing and distilling. A week later Napoleon gave
orders that the small paddock beyond the orchard, which it had
previously been intended to set aside as a grazing-ground for
animals who were past work, was to be ploughed up. It was given
out that the pasture was exhausted and needed re-seeding; but it
soon became known that Napoleon intended to sow it with
About this time there occurred a strange incident which hardly
anyone was able to understand. One night at about twelve o'clock
there was a loud crash in the yard, and the animals rushed out of
their stalls. It was a moonlit night. At the foot of the end wall
of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there
lay a ladder broken in two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned,
was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a
paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. The dogs
immediately made a ring round Squealer, and escorted him back to
the farmhouse as soon as he was able to walk. None of the animals
could form any idea as to what this meant, except old Benjamin,
who nodded his muzzle with a knowing air, and seemed to
understand, but would say nothing.
But a few days later Muriel, reading over the Seven
Commandments to herself, noticed that there was yet another of
them which the animals had remembered wrong. They had thought the
Fifth Commandment was "No animal shall drink alcohol," but there
were two words that they had forgotten. Actually the Commandment
read: "No animal shall drink alcohol TO EXCESS."
Boxer's split hoof was a long time in healing. They had
started the rebuilding of the windmill the day after the victory
celebrations were ended. Boxer refused to take even a day off
work, and made it a point of honour not to let it be seen that he
was in pain. In the evenings he would admit privately to Clover
that the hoof troubled him a great deal. Clover treated the hoof
with poultices of herbs which she prepared by chewing them, and
both she and Benjamin urged Boxer to work less hard. "A horse's
lungs do not last for ever," she said to him. But Boxer would not
listen. He had, he said, only one real ambition left--to see the
windmill well under way before he reached the age for
At the beginning, when the laws of Animal Farm were first
formulated, the retiring age had been fixed for horses and pigs
at twelve, for cows at fourteen, for dogs at nine, for sheep at
seven, and for hens and geese at five. Liberal old-age pensions
had been agreed upon. As yet no animal had actually retired on
pension, but of late the subject had been discussed more and
more. Now that the small field beyond the orchard had been set
aside for barley, it was rumoured that a corner of the large
pasture was to be fenced off and turned into a grazing-ground for
superannuated animals. For a horse, it was said, the pension
would be five pounds of corn a day and, in winter, fifteen pounds
of hay, with a carrot or possibly an apple on public holidays.
Boxer's twelfth birthday was due in the late summer of the
Meanwhile life was hard. The winter was as cold as the last
one had been, and food was even shorter. Once again all rations
were reduced, except those of the pigs and the dogs. A too rigid
equality in rations, Squealer explained, would have been contrary
to the principles of Animalism. In any case he had no difficulty
in proving to the other animals that they were NOT in reality
short of food, whatever the appearances might be. For the time
being, certainly, it had been found necessary to make a
readjustment of rations (Squealer always spoke of it as a
"readjustment," never as a "reduction"), but in comparison with
the days of Jones, the improvement was enormous. Reading out the
figures in a shrill, rapid voice, he proved to them in detail
that they had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had
in Jones's day, that they worked shorter hours, that their
drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer,
that a larger proportion of their young ones survived infancy,
and that they had more straw in their stalls and suffered less
from fleas. The animals believed every word of it. Truth to tell,
Jones and all he stood for had almost faded out of their
memories. They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare, that
they were often hungry and often cold, and that they were usually
working when they were not asleep. But doubtless it had been
worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so. Besides, in
those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that
made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point
There were many more mouths to feed now. In the autumn the
four sows had all littered about simultaneously, producing
thirty-one young pigs between them. The young pigs were piebald,
and as Napoleon was the only boar on the farm, it was possible to
guess at their parentage. It was announced that later, when
bricks and timber had been purchased, a schoolroom would be built
in the farmhouse garden. For the time being, the young pigs were
given their instruction by Napoleon himself in the farmhouse
kitchen. They took their exercise in the garden, and were
discouraged from playing with the other young animals. About this
time, too, it was laid down as a rule that when a pig and any
other animal met on the path, the other animal must stand aside:
and also that all pigs, of whatever degree, were to have the
privilege of wearing green ribbons on their tails on Sundays.
The farm had had a fairly successful year, but was still short
of money. There were the bricks, sand, and lime for the
schoolroom to be purchased, and it would also be necessary to
begin saving up again for the machinery for the windmill. Then
there were lamp oil and candles for the house, sugar for
Napoleon's own table (he forbade this to the other pigs, on the
ground that it made them fat), and all the usual replacements
such as tools, nails, string, coal, wire, scrap-iron, and dog
biscuits. A stump of hay and part of the potato crop were sold
off, and the contract for eggs was increased to six hundred a
week, so that that year the hens barely hatched enough chicks to
keep their numbers at the same level. Rations, reduced in
December, were reduced again in February, and lanterns in the
stalls were forbidden to save oil. But the pigs seemed
comfortable enough, and in fact were putting on weight if
anything. One afternoon in late February a warm, rich, appetising
scent, such as the animals had never smelt before, wafted itself
across the yard from the little brew-house, which had been
disused in Jones's time, and which stood beyond the kitchen.
Someone said it was the smell of cooking barley. The animals
sniffed the air hungrily and wondered whether a warm mash was
being prepared for their supper. But no warm mash appeared, and
on the following Sunday it was announced that from now onwards
all barley would be reserved for the pigs. The field beyond the
orchard had already been sown with barley. And the news soon
leaked out that every pig was now receiving a ration of a pint of
beer daily, with half a gallon for Napoleon himself, which was
always served to him in the Crown Derby soup tureen.
But if there were hardships to be borne, they were partly
offset by the fact that life nowadays had a greater dignity than
it had had before. There were more songs, more speeches, more
processions. Napoleon had commanded that once a week there should
be held something called a Spontaneous Demonstration, the object
of which was to celebrate the struggles and triumphs of Animal
Farm. At the appointed time the animals would leave their work
and march round the precincts of the farm in military formation,
with the pigs leading, then the horses, then the cows, then the
sheep, and then the poultry. The dogs flanked the procession and
at the head of all marched Napoleon's black cockerel. Boxer and
Clover always carried between them a green banner marked with the
hoof and the horn and the caption, "Long live Comrade Napoleon!"
Afterwards there were recitations of poems composed in Napoleon's
honour, and a speech by Squealer giving particulars of the latest
increases in the production of foodstuffs, and on occasion a shot
was fired from the gun. The sheep were the greatest devotees of
the Spontaneous Demonstration, and if anyone complained (as a few
animals sometimes did, when no pigs or dogs were near) that they
wasted time and meant a lot of standing about in the cold, the
sheep were sure to silence him with a tremendous bleating of
"Four legs good, two legs bad!" But by and large the animals
enjoyed these celebrations. They found it comforting to be
reminded that, after all, they were truly their own masters and
that the work they did was for their own benefit. So that, what
with the songs, the processions, Squealer's lists of figures, the
thunder of the gun, the crowing of the cockerel, and the
fluttering of the flag, they were able to forget that their
bellies were empty, at least part of the time.
In April, Animal Farm was proclaimed a Republic, and it became
necessary to elect a President. There was only one candidate,
Napoleon, who was elected unanimously. On the same day it was
given out that fresh documents had been discovered which revealed
further details about Snowball's complicity with Jones. It now
appeared that Snowball had not, as the animals had previously
imagined, merely attempted to lose the Battle of the Cowshed by
means of a stratagem, but had been openly fighting on Jones's
side. In fact, it was he who had actually been the leader of the
human forces, and had charged into battle with the words "Long
live Humanity!" on his lips. The wounds on Snowball's back, which
a few of the animals still remembered to have seen, had been
inflicted by Napoleon's teeth.
In the middle of the summer Moses the raven suddenly
reappeared on the farm, after an absence of several years. He was
quite unchanged, still did no work, and talked in the same strain
as ever about Sugarcandy Mountain. He would perch on a stump,
flap his black wings, and talk by the hour to anyone who would
listen. "Up there, comrades," he would say solemnly, pointing to
the sky with his large beak--"up there, just on the other side of
that dark cloud that you can see--there it lies, Sugarcandy
Mountain, that happy country where we poor animals shall rest for
ever from our labours!" He even claimed to have been there on one
of his higher flights, and to have seen the everlasting fields of
clover and the linseed cake and lump sugar growing on the hedges.
Many of the animals believed him. Their lives now, they reasoned,
were hungry and laborious; was it not right and just that a
better world should exist somewhere else? A thing that was
difficult to determine was the attitude of the pigs towards
Moses. They all declared contemptuously that his stories about
Sugarcandy Mountain were lies, and yet they allowed him to remain
on the farm, not working, with an allowance of a gill of beer a
After his hoof had healed up, Boxer worked harder than ever.
Indeed, all the animals worked like slaves that year. Apart from
the regular work of the farm, and the rebuilding of the windmill,
there was the schoolhouse for the young pigs, which was started
in March. Sometimes the long hours on insufficient food were hard
to bear, but Boxer never faltered. In nothing that he said or did
was there any sign that his strength was not what it had been. It
was only his appearance that was a little altered; his hide was
less shiny than it had used to be, and his great haunches seemed
to have shrunken. The others said, "Boxer will pick up when the
spring grass comes on"; but the spring came and Boxer grew no
fatter. Sometimes on the slope leading to the top of the quarry,
when he braced his muscles against the weight of some vast
boulder, it seemed that nothing kept him on his feet except the
will to continue. At such times his lips were seen to form the
words, "I will work harder"; he had no voice left. Once again
Clover and Benjamin warned him to take care of his health, but
Boxer paid no attention. His twelfth birthday was approaching. He
did not care what happened so long as a good store of stone was
accumulated before he went on pension.
Late one evening in the summer, a sudden rumour ran round the
farm that something had happened to Boxer. He had gone out alone
to drag a load of stone down to the windmill. And sure enough,
the rumour was true. A few minutes later two pigeons came racing
in with the news; "Boxer has fallen! He is lying on his side and
can't get up!"
About half the animals on the farm rushed out to the knoll
where the windmill stood. There lay Boxer, between the shafts of
the cart, his neck stretched out, unable even to raise his head.
His eyes were glazed, his sides matted with sweat. A thin stream
of blood had trickled out of his mouth. Clover dropped to her
knees at his side.
"Boxer!" she cried, "how are you?"
"It is my lung," said Boxer in a weak voice. "It does not
matter. I think you will be able to finish the windmill without
me. There is a pretty good store of stone accumulated. I had only
another month to go in any case. To tell you the truth, I had
been looking forward to my retirement. And perhaps, as Benjamin
is growing old too, they will let him retire at the same time and
be a companion to me."
"We must get help at once," said Clover. "Run, somebody, and
tell Squealer what has happened."
All the other animals immediately raced back to the farmhouse
to give Squealer the news. Only Clover remained, and Benjamin who
lay down at Boxer's side, and, without speaking, kept the flies
off him with his long tail. After about a quarter of an hour
Squealer appeared, full of sympathy and concern. He said that
Comrade Napoleon had learned with the very deepest distress of
this misfortune to one of the most loyal workers on the farm, and
was already making arrangements to send Boxer to be treated in
the hospital at Willingdon. The animals felt a little uneasy at
this. Except for Mollie and Snowball, no other animal had ever
left the farm, and they did not like to think of their sick
comrade in the hands of human beings. However, Squealer easily
convinced them that the veterinary surgeon in Willingdon could
treat Boxer's case more satisfactorily than could be done on the
farm. And about half an hour later, when Boxer had somewhat
recovered, he was with difficulty got on to his feet, and managed
to limp back to his stall, where Clover and Benjamin had prepared
a good bed of straw for him.
For the next two days Boxer remained in his stall. The pigs
had sent out a large bottle of pink medicine which they had found
in the medicine chest in the bathroom, and Clover administered it
to Boxer twice a day after meals. In the evenings she lay in his
stall and talked to him, while Benjamin kept the flies off him.
Boxer professed not to be sorry for what had happened. If he made
a good recovery, he might expect to live another three years, and
he looked forward to the peaceful days that he would spend in the
corner of the big pasture. It would be the first time that he had
had leisure to study and improve his mind. He intended, he said,
to devote the rest of his life to learning the remaining
twenty-two letters of the alphabet.
However, Benjamin and Clover could only be with Boxer after
working hours, and it was in the middle of the day when the van
came to take him away. The animals were all at work weeding
turnips under the supervision of a pig, when they were astonished
to see Benjamin come galloping from the direction of the farm
buildings, braying at the top of his voice. It was the first time
that they had ever seen Benjamin excited--indeed, it was the
first time that anyone had ever seen him gallop. "Quick, quick!"
he shouted. "Come at once! They're taking Boxer away!" Without
waiting for orders from the pig, the animals broke off work and
raced back to the farm buildings. Sure enough, there in the yard
was a large closed van, drawn by two horses, with lettering on
its side and a sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat
sitting on the driver's seat. And Boxer's stall was empty.
The animals crowded round the van. "Good-bye, Boxer!" they
"Fools! Fools!" shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and
stamping the earth with his small hoofs. "Fools! Do you not see
what is written on the side of that van?"
That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel
began to spell out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and
in the midst of a deadly silence he read:
"'Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler,
Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.' Do
you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the
A cry of horror burst from all the animals. At this moment the
man on the box whipped up his horses and the van moved out of the
yard at a smart trot. All the animals followed, crying out at the
tops of their voices. Clover forced her way to the front. The van
began to gather speed. Clover tried to stir her stout limbs to a
gallop, and achieved a canter. "Boxer!" she cried. "Boxer! Boxer!
Boxer!" And just at this moment, as though he had heard the
uproar outside, Boxer's face, with the white stripe down his
nose, appeared at the small window at the back of the van.
"Boxer!" cried Clover in a terrible voice. "Boxer! Get out!
Get out quickly! They're taking you to your death!"
All the animals took up the cry of "Get out, Boxer, get out!"
But the van was already gathering speed and drawing away from
them. It was uncertain whether Boxer had understood what Clover
had said. But a moment later his face disappeared from the window
and there was the sound of a tremendous drumming of hoofs inside
the van. He was trying to kick his way out. The time had been
when a few kicks from Boxer's hoofs would have smashed the van to
matchwood. But alas! his strength had left him; and in a few
moments the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away.
In desperation the animals began appealing to the two horses
which drew the van to stop. "Comrades, comrades!" they shouted.
"Don't take your own brother to his death!" But the stupid
brutes, too ignorant to realise what was happening, merely set
back their ears and quickened their pace. Boxer's face did not
reappear at the window. Too late, someone thought of racing ahead
and shutting the five-barred gate; but in another moment the van
was through it and rapidly disappearing down the road. Boxer was
never seen again.
Three days later it was announced that he had died in the
hospital at Willingdon, in spite of receiving every attention a
horse could have. Squealer came to announce the news to the
others. He had, he said, been present during Boxer's last
"It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen!" said
Squealer, lifting his trotter and wiping away a tear. "I was at
his bedside at the very last. And at the end, almost too weak to
speak, he whispered in my ear that his sole sorrow was to have
passed on before the windmill was finished. 'Forward, comrades!'
he whispered. 'Forward in the name of the Rebellion. Long live
Animal Farm! Long live Comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always
right.' Those were his very last words, comrades."
Here Squealer's demeanour suddenly changed. He fell silent for
a moment, and his little eyes darted suspicious glances from side
to side before he proceeded.
It had come to his knowledge, he said, that a foolish and
wicked rumour had been circulated at the time of Boxer's removal.
Some of the animals had noticed that the van which took Boxer
away was marked "Horse Slaughterer," and had actually jumped to
the conclusion that Boxer was being sent to the knacker's. It was
almost unbelievable, said Squealer, that any animal could be so
stupid. Surely, he cried indignantly, whisking his tail and
skipping from side to side, surely they knew their beloved
Leader, Comrade Napoleon, better than that? But the explanation
was really very simple. The van had previously been the property
of the knacker, and had been bought by the veterinary surgeon,
who had not yet painted the old name out. That was how the
mistake had arisen.
The animals were enormously relieved to hear this. And when
Squealer went on to give further graphic details of Boxer's
death-bed, the admirable care he had received, and the expensive
medicines for which Napoleon had paid without a thought as to the
cost, their last doubts disappeared and the sorrow that they felt
for their comrade's death was tempered by the thought that at
least he had died happy.
Napoleon himself appeared at the meeting on the following
Sunday morning and pronounced a short oration in Boxer's honour.
It had not been possible, he said, to bring back their lamented
comrade's remains for interment on the farm, but he had ordered a
large wreath to be made from the laurels in the farmhouse garden
and sent down to be placed on Boxer's grave. And in a few days'
time the pigs intended to hold a memorial banquet in Boxer's
honour. Napoleon ended his speech with a reminder of Boxer's two
favourite maxims, "I will work harder" and "Comrade Napoleon is
always right"--maxims, he said, which every animal would do well
to adopt as his own.
On the day appointed for the banquet, a grocer's van drove up
from Willingdon and delivered a large wooden crate at the
farmhouse. That night there was the sound of uproarious singing,
which was followed by what sounded like a violent quarrel and
ended at about eleven o'clock with a tremendous crash of glass.
No one stirred in the farmhouse before noon on the following day,
and the word went round that from somewhere or other the pigs had
acquired the money to buy themselves another case of whisky.
Years passed. The seasons came and went, the short animal
lives fled by. A time came when there was no one who remembered
the old days before the Rebellion, except Clover, Benjamin, Moses
the raven, and a number of the pigs.
Muriel was dead; Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher were dead.
Jones too was dead--he had died in an inebriates' home in another
part of the country. Snowball was forgotten. Boxer was forgotten,
except by the few who had known him. Clover was an old stout mare
now, stiff in the joints and with a tendency to rheumy eyes. She
was two years past the retiring age, but in fact no animal had
ever actually retired. The talk of setting aside a corner of the
pasture for superannuated animals had long since been dropped.
Napoleon was now a mature boar of twenty-four stone. Squealer was
so fat that he could with difficulty see out of his eyes. Only
old Benjamin was much the same as ever, except for being a little
greyer about the muzzle, and, since Boxer's death, more morose
and taciturn than ever.
There were many more creatures on the farm now, though the
increase was not so great as had been expected in earlier years.
Many animals had been born to whom the Rebellion was only a dim
tradition, passed on by word of mouth, and others had been bought
who had never heard mention of such a thing before their arrival.
The farm possessed three horses now besides Clover. They were
fine upstanding beasts, willing workers and good comrades, but
very stupid. None of them proved able to learn the alphabet
beyond the letter B. They accepted everything that they were told
about the Rebellion and the principles of Animalism, especially
from Clover, for whom they had an almost filial respect; but it
was doubtful whether they understood very much of it.
The farm was more prosperous now, and better organised: it had
even been enlarged by two fields which had been bought from Mr.
Pilkington. The windmill had been successfully completed at last,
and the farm possessed a threshing machine and a hay elevator of
its own, and various new buildings had been added to it. Whymper
had bought himself a dogcart. The windmill, however, had not
after all been used for generating electrical power. It was used
for milling corn, and brought in a handsome money profit. The
animals were hard at work building yet another windmill; when
that one was finished, so it was said, the dynamos would be
installed. But the luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the
animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and cold
water, and the three-day week, were no longer talked about.
Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of
Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without
making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for
the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were
so many pigs and so many dogs. It was not that these creatures
did not work, after their fashion. There was, as Squealer was
never tired of explaining, endless work in the supervision and
organisation of the farm. Much of this work was of a kind that
the other animals were too ignorant to understand. For example,
Squealer told them that the pigs had to expend enormous labours
every day upon mysterious things called "files," "reports,"
"minutes," and "memoranda". These were large sheets of paper
which had to be closely covered with writing, and as soon as they
were so covered, they were burnt in the furnace. This was of the
highest importance for the welfare of the farm, Squealer said.
But still, neither pigs nor dogs produced any food by their own
labour; and there were very many of them, and their appetites
were always good.
As for the others, their life, so far as they knew, was as it
had always been. They were generally hungry, they slept on straw,
they drank from the pool, they laboured in the fields; in winter
they were troubled by the cold, and in summer by the flies.
Sometimes the older ones among them racked their dim memories and
tried to determine whether in the early days of the Rebellion,
when Jones's expulsion was still recent, things had been better
or worse than now. They could not remember. There was nothing
with which they could compare their present lives: they had
nothing to go upon except Squealer's lists of figures, which
invariably demonstrated that everything was getting better and
better. The animals found the problem insoluble; in any case,
they had little time for speculating on such things now. Only old
Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and
to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better
or much worse--hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he
said, the unalterable law of life.
And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost,
even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being
members of Animal Farm. They were still the only farm in the
whole county--in all England!--owned and operated by animals. Not
one of them, not even the youngest, not even the newcomers who
had been brought from farms ten or twenty miles away, ever ceased
to marvel at that. And when they heard the gun booming and saw
the green flag fluttering at the masthead, their hearts swelled
with imperishable pride, and the talk turned always towards the
old heroic days, the expulsion of Jones, the writing of the Seven
Commandments, the great battles in which the human invaders had
been defeated. None of the old dreams had been abandoned. The
Republic of the Animals which Major had foretold, when the green
fields of England should be untrodden by human feet, was still
believed in. Some day it was coming: it might not be soon, it
might not be with in the lifetime of any animal now living, but
still it was coming. Even the tune of 'Beasts of England' was
perhaps hummed secretly here and there: at any rate, it was a
fact that every animal on the farm knew it, though no one would
have dared to sing it aloud. It might be that their lives were
hard and that not all of their hopes had been fulfilled; but they
were conscious that they were not as other animals. If they went
hungry, it was not from feeding tyrannical human beings; if they
worked hard, at least they worked for themselves. No creature
among them went upon two legs. No creature called any other
creature "Master." All animals were equal.
One day in early summer Squealer ordered the sheep to follow
him, and led them out to a piece of waste ground at the other end
of the farm, which had become overgrown with birch saplings. The
sheep spent the whole day there browsing at the leaves under
Squealer's supervision. In the evening he returned to the
farmhouse himself, but, as it was warm weather, told the sheep to
stay where they were. It ended by their remaining there for a
whole week, during which time the other animals saw nothing of
them. Squealer was with them for the greater part of every day.
He was, he said, teaching them to sing a new song, for which
privacy was needed.
It was just after the sheep had returned, on a pleasant
evening when the animals had finished work and were making their
way back to the farm buildings, that the terrified neighing of a
horse sounded from the yard. Startled, the animals stopped in
their tracks. It was Clover's voice. She neighed again, and all
the animals broke into a gallop and rushed into the yard. Then
they saw what Clover had seen.
It was a pig walking on his hind legs.
Yes, it was Squealer. A little awkwardly, as though not quite
used to supporting his considerable bulk in that position, but
with perfect balance, he was strolling across the yard. And a
moment later, out from the door of the farmhouse came a long file
of pigs, all walking on their hind legs. Some did it better than
others, one or two were even a trifle unsteady and looked as
though they would have liked the support of a stick, but every
one of them made his way right round the yard successfully. And
finally there was a tremendous baying of dogs and a shrill
crowing from the black cockerel, and out came Napoleon himself,
majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side,
and with his dogs gambolling round him.
He carried a whip in his trotter.
There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling
together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly
round the yard. It was as though the world had turned
upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had
worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their
terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long
years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what
happened--they might have uttered some word of protest. But just
at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out
into a tremendous bleating of--
"Four legs good, two legs BETTER! Four legs good, two legs
BETTER! Four legs good, two legs BETTER!"
It went on for five minutes without stopping. And by the time
the sheep had quieted down, the chance to utter any protest had
passed, for the pigs had marched back into the farmhouse.
Benjamin felt a nose nuzzling at his shoulder. He looked
round. It was Clover. Her old eyes looked dimmer than ever.
Without saying anything, she tugged gently at his mane and led
him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven
Commandments were written. For a minute or two they stood gazing
at the tatted wall with its white lettering.
"My sight is failing," she said finally. "Even when I was
young I could not have read what was written there. But it
appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven
Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?"
For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out
to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now
except a single Commandment. It ran:
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who
were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their
trotters. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had
bought themselves a wireless set, were arranging to install a
telephone, and had taken out subscriptions to 'John Bull',
'Tit-Bits', and the 'Daily Mirror'. It did not seem strange when
Napoleon was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe
in his mouth--no, not even when the pigs took Mr. Jones's clothes
out of the wardrobes and put them on, Napoleon himself appearing
in a black coat, ratcatcher breeches, and leather leggings, while
his favourite sow appeared in the watered silk dress which Mrs.
Jones had been used to wearing on Sundays.
A week later, in the afternoon, a number of dog-carts drove up
to the farm. A deputation of neighbouring farmers had been
invited to make a tour of inspection. They were shown all over
the farm, and expressed great admiration for everything they saw,
especially the windmill. The animals were weeding the turnip
field. They worked diligently hardly raising their faces from the
ground, and not knowing whether to be more frightened of the pigs
or of the human visitors.
That evening loud laughter and bursts of singing came from the
farmhouse. And suddenly, at the sound of the mingled voices, the
animals were stricken with curiosity. What could be happening in
there, now that for the first time animals and human beings were
meeting on terms of equality? With one accord they began to creep
as quietly as possible into the farmhouse garden.
At the gate they paused, half frightened to go on but Clover
led the way in. They tiptoed up to the house, and such animals as
were tall enough peered in at the dining-room window. There,
round the long table, sat half a dozen farmers and half a dozen
of the more eminent pigs, Napoleon himself occupying the seat of
honour at the head of the table. The pigs appeared completely at
ease in their chairs. The company had been enjoying a game of
cards but had broken off for the moment, evidently in order to
drink a toast. A large jug was circulating, and the mugs were
being refilled with beer. No one noticed the wondering faces of
the animals that gazed in at the window.
Mr. Pilkington, of Foxwood, had stood up, his mug in his hand.
In a moment, he said, he would ask the present company to drink a
toast. But before doing so, there were a few words that he felt
it incumbent upon him to say.
It was a source of great satisfaction to him, he said--and, he
was sure, to all others present--to feel that a long period of
mistrust and misunderstanding had now come to an end. There had
been a time--not that he, or any of the present company, had
shared such sentiments--but there had been a time when the
respected proprietors of Animal Farm had been regarded, he would
not say with hostility, but perhaps with a certain measure of
misgiving, by their human neighbours. Unfortunate incidents had
occurred, mistaken ideas had been current. It had been felt that
the existence of a farm owned and operated by pigs was somehow
abnormal and was liable to have an unsettling effect in the
neighbourhood. Too many farmers had assumed, without due enquiry,
that on such a farm a spirit of licence and indiscipline would
prevail. They had been nervous about the effects upon their own
animals, or even upon their human employees. But all such doubts
were now dispelled. Today he and his friends had visited Animal
Farm and inspected every inch of it with their own eyes, and what
did they find? Not only the most up-to-date methods, but a
discipline and an orderliness which should be an example to all
farmers everywhere. He believed that he was right in saying that
the lower animals on Animal Farm did more work and received less
food than any animals in the county. Indeed, he and his
fellow-visitors today had observed many features which they
intended to introduce on their own farms immediately.
He would end his remarks, he said, by emphasising once again
the friendly feelings that subsisted, and ought to subsist,
between Animal Farm and its neighbours. Between pigs and human
beings there was not, and there need not be, any clash of
interests whatever. Their struggles and their difficulties were
one. Was not the labour problem the same everywhere? Here it
became apparent that Mr. Pilkington was about to spring some
carefully prepared witticism on the company, but for a moment he
was too overcome by amusement to be able to utter it. After much
choking, during which his various chins turned purple, he managed
to get it out: "If you have your lower animals to contend with,"
he said, "we have our lower classes!" This BON MOT set the table
in a roar; and Mr. Pilkington once again congratulated the pigs
on the low rations, the long working hours, and the general
absence of pampering which he had observed on Animal Farm.
And now, he said finally, he would ask the company to rise to
their feet and make certain that their glasses were full.
"Gentlemen," concluded Mr. Pilkington, "gentlemen, I give you a
toast: To the prosperity of Animal Farm!"
There was enthusiastic cheering and stamping of feet. Napoleon
was so gratified that he left his place and came round the table
to clink his mug against Mr. Pilkington's before emptying it.
When the cheering had died down, Napoleon, who had remained on
his feet, intimated that he too had a few words to say.
Like all of Napoleon's speeches, it was short and to the
point. He too, he said, was happy that the period of
misunderstanding was at an end. For a long time there had been
rumours--circulated, he had reason to think, by some malignant
enemy--that there was something subversive and even revolutionary
in the outlook of himself and his colleagues. They had been
credited with attempting to stir up rebellion among the animals
on neighbouring farms. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Their sole wish, now and in the past, was to live at peace and in
normal business relations with their neighbours. This farm which
he had the honour to control, he added, was a co-operative
enterprise. The title-deeds, which were in his own possession,
were owned by the pigs jointly.
He did not believe, he said, that any of the old suspicions
still lingered, but certain changes had been made recently in the
routine of the farm which should have the effect of promoting
confidence still further. Hitherto the animals on the farm had
had a rather foolish custom of addressing one another as
"Comrade." This was to be suppressed. There had also been a very
strange custom, whose origin was unknown, of marching every
Sunday morning past a boar's skull which was nailed to a post in
the garden. This, too, would be suppressed, and the skull had
already been buried. His visitors might have observed, too, the
green flag which flew from the masthead. If so, they would
perhaps have noted that the white hoof and horn with which it had
previously been marked had now been removed. It would be a plain
green flag from now onwards.
He had only one criticism, he said, to make of Mr.
Pilkington's excellent and neighbourly speech. Mr. Pilkington had
referred throughout to "Animal Farm." He could not of course
know--for he, Napoleon, was only now for the first time
announcing it--that the name "Animal Farm" had been abolished.
Henceforward the farm was to be known as "The Manor Farm"--which,
he believed, was its correct and original name.
"Gentlemen," concluded Napoleon, "I will give you the same
toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to
the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The
There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs
were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at
the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was
happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs?
Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of
them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was
it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause
having come to an end, the company took up their cards and
continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals
crept silently away.
But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An
uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back
and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was
in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp
suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble
appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played
an ace of spades simultaneously.
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike.
No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The
creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig,
and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say
which was which.
November 1943-February 1944