Table of Contents
Etext by Roderick da Rat
MR. JONES, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to
shut the popholes. 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 already snoring.
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 to say.
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,
Animal Farm 1
grazing side by side and never speaking.
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 truth.
"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?
Animal Farm 2
"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 nearest pond.
"Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human
beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. A1most 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
"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
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
Animal Farm 3
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
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;
Animal Farm 4
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 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 underfed.
June came and the hay was almost ready for cutting. On Midsummer's Eve, which was a Saturday, Mr. Jones
went into Willingdon and got so drunk at the Red Lion that he did not come back till midday on Sunday. The
men had milked the cows in the early morning and then had gone out rabbiting, without bothering to feed the
animals. When Mr. Jones got back he immediately went to sleep on the drawing-room sofa with the News of
the World over his face, so that when evening came, the animals were still unfed. At last they could stand it
no longer. One of the cows broke in the door of the store-shed with her horn and all the animals began to
help themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr. Jones woke up. The next moment he and his four men
were in the store-shed with whips in their hands, lashing out in all directions. This was more than the hungry
animals could bear. With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung
themselves upon their tormentors. Jones and his men suddenly found themselves being butted and kicked
from all sides. The situation was quite out of their control. They had never seen animals behave like this
before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whom they were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they
chose, frightened them almost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they gave up trying to defend
themselves and took to their heels. A minute later all five of them were in full flight down the cart-track that
led to the main road, with the animals pursuing them in triumph.
Mrs. Jones looked out of the bedroom window, saw what was happening, hurriedly flung a few possessions
into a carpet bag, and slipped out of the farm by another way. Moses sprang off his perch and flapped after
her, croaking loudly. Meanwhile the animals had chased Jones and his men out on to the road and slammed
the five-barred gate behind them. And so, almost before they knew what was happening, the Rebellion had
been successfully carried through: Jones was expelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.
For the first few minutes the animals could hardly believe in their good fortune. Their first act was to gallop
in a body right round the boundaries of the farm, as though to make quite sure that no human being was
hiding anywhere upon it; then they raced back to the farm buildings to wipe out the last traces of Jones's
hated reign. The harness-room at the end of the stables was broken open; the bits, the nose-rings, the
dog-chains, the cruel knives with which Mr. Jones had been used to castrate the 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:
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 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.
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 cryptic answer.
On Sundays there was no work. Breakfast was an hour later than usual, and after breakfast there was a
ceremony which was observed every week without fail. First came the hoisting of the flag. Snowball had
found in the harness-room an old green 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 8, morning. The flag was green,
Snowball explained, to represent the green fields of England, while the hoof and horn signified the future
Republic of the Animals which would arise when the human race had been finally overthrown. After the
hoisting of the flag all the animals trooped into the big barn for a general assembly which was known as the
Meeting. Here the work of 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 recreation.
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
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 existence.
The mystery of where the milk went to was soon cleared up. It was mixed every day into the pigs' mash. The
early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls. The animals had
assumed as a matter of course that these would be shared out equally; one day, however, the order went forth
that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs. At this
some of the other animals murmured, but it was no use. All the pigs were in full agreement on this point,
even Snowball and Napoleon. Squealer was sent to make the necessary explanations to the others.
"Comrades!" he cried. "You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and
privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these
things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain
substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole
management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It
is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs
failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades," cried Squealer
almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, "surely there is no one among you who
wants to see Jones come back?"
Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones
back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in
good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall
apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.
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 interests.
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
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 be.
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 mean, Mollie?"
"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
"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.
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