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 into white.
These three had elaborated old Major’s teachings into a complete system of
thought, to which they gave the name of Animalism. Several nights a week, after
Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the
principles of Animalism to the others. At the beginning they met with much
stupidity and apathy. Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr.
Jones, whom they referred to as ‘Master,’ or made elementary remarks such as
‘Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death.’ Others asked
such questions as ‘Why should we care what happens after we are dead?’ or ‘If
this Rebellion is to happen anyway, what difference does it make whether we
work for it or not?’, and the pigs had great difficulty in making them see that
this was contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The stupidest questions of all were
asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question she asked Snowball
was: ‘Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion? ’
‘No,’ said Snowball firmly. ‘We have no means of making sugar on this farm.
Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want.’
‘And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?’ asked Mollie.
‘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
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.
This post was from the Excerpt “Animal Farm” written by George Orwell in the 20th Century, if you enjoyed this read you can get the book on Amazon by clicking HERE