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George Orwell > Animal Farm > Chapter II

Animal Farm

Chapter II

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 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

June came and the hay was almost ready for cutting. On Midsummer's Eve,
which was a Saturday, Mr. Jones went into Willingdon and got so drunk at
the Red Lion that he did not come back till midday on Sunday. The men had
milked the cows in the early morning and then had gone out rabbiting,
without bothering to feed the animals. When Mr. Jones got back he
immediately went to sleep on the drawing-room sofa with the News of the
World over his face, so that when evening came, the animals were still
unfed. At last they could stand it no longer. One of the cows broke in the
door of the store-shed with her horn and all the animals began to help
themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr. Jones woke up. The
next moment he and his four men were in the store-shed with whips in their
hands, lashing out in all directions. This was more than the hungry
animals could bear. With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been
planned beforehand, they flung themselves upon their tormentors. Jones and
his men suddenly found themselves being butted and kicked from all sides.
The situation was quite out of their control. They had never seen animals
behave like this before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whom they
were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened them
almost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they gave up trying
to defend themselves and took to their heels. A minute later all five of
them were in full flight down the cart-track that led to the main road,
with the animals pursuing them in triumph.

Mrs. Jones looked out of the bedroom window, saw what was happening,
hurriedly flung a few possessions into a carpet bag, and slipped out of
the farm by another way. Moses sprang off his perch and flapped after her,
croaking loudly. Meanwhile the animals had chased Jones and his men out on
to the road and slammed the five-barred gate behind them. And so, almost
before they knew what was happening, the Rebellion had been successfully
carried through: Jones was expelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.

For the first few minutes the animals could hardly believe in their good
fortune. Their first act was to gallop in a body right round the
boundaries of the farm, as though to make quite sure that no human being
was hiding anywhere upon it; then they raced back to the farm buildings to
wipe out the last traces of Jones's hated reign. The harness-room at the
end of the stables was broken open; the bits, the nose-rings, the
dog-chains, the cruel knives with which Mr. Jones had been used to
castrate the 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 market days.

"Ribbons," he said, "should be considered as clothes, which are the mark
of a human being. All animals should go naked."

When Boxer heard this he fetched the small straw hat which he wore in
summer to keep the flies out of his ears, and flung it on to the fire with
the rest.

In a very little while the animals had destroyed everything that reminded
them of Mr. Jones. Napoleon then led them back to the store-shed and
served out a double ration of corn to everybody, with two biscuits for
each dog. Then they sang 'Beasts of England' from end to end seven times
running, and after that they settled down for the night and slept as they
had never slept before.

But they woke at dawn as usual, and suddenly remembering the glorious
thing that had happened, they all raced out into the pasture together. A
little way down the pasture there was a knoll that commanded a view of
most of the farm. The animals rushed to the top of it and gazed round them
in the clear morning light. Yes, it was theirs--everything that they could
see was theirs! In the ecstasy of that thought they gambolled round and
round, they hurled themselves into the air in great leaps of excitement.
They rolled in the dew, they cropped mouthfuls of the sweet summer grass,
they kicked up clods of the black earth and snuffed its rich scent. Then
they made a tour of inspection of the whole farm and surveyed with
speechless admiration the ploughland, the hayfield, the orchard, the pool,
the spinney. It was as though they had never seen these things before, and
even now they could hardly believe that it was all their own.

Then they filed back to the farm buildings and halted in silence outside
the door of the farmhouse. That was theirs too, but they were frightened
to go inside. After a moment, however, Snowball and Napoleon butted the
door open with their shoulders and the animals entered in single file,
walking with the utmost care for fear of disturbing anything. They tiptoed
from room to room, afraid to speak above a whisper and gazing with a kind
of awe at the unbelievable luxury, at the beds with their feather
mattresses, the looking-glasses, the horsehair sofa, the Brussels carpet,
the lithograph of Queen Victoria over the drawing-room mantelpiece. They
were lust coming down the stairs when Mollie was discovered to be missing.
Going back, the others found that she had remained behind in the best
bedroom. She had taken a piece of blue ribbon from Mrs. Jones's
dressing-table, and was holding it against her shoulder and admiring
herself in the glass in a very foolish manner. The others reproached her
sharply, and they went outside. Some hams hanging in the kitchen were
taken out for burial, and the barrel of beer in the scullery was stove in
with a kick from Boxer's hoof, otherwise nothing in the house was touched.
A unanimous resolution was passed on the spot that the farmhouse should be
preserved as a museum. All were agreed that no animal must ever 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:


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 do."

But at this moment the three cows, who had seemed uneasy for some time
past, set up a loud lowing. They had not been milked for twenty-four
hours, and their udders were almost bursting. After a little thought, the
pigs sent for buckets and milked the cows fairly successfully, their
trotters being well adapted to this task. Soon there were five buckets of
frothing creamy milk at which many of the animals looked with considerable

"What is going to happen to all that milk?" said someone.

"Jones used sometimes to mix some of it in our mash," said one of the hens.

"Never mind the milk, comrades!" cried Napoleon, placing himself in front
of the buckets. "That will be attended to. The harvest is more important.
Comrade Snowball will lead the way. I shall follow in a few minutes.
Forward, comrades! The hay is waiting."

So the animals trooped down to the hayfield to begin the harvest, and when
they came back in the evening it was noticed that the milk had disappeared.

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