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 time.
Out of spite, the human beings pretended not to believe that it
was Snowball who had destroyer 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
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 u se
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
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,
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 easier.
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, an d 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
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
'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
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 uneasy.
'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 thought of.'
'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 moment! '
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 happen.
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 t o 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 night.
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 them.
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 purpose.'
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'.
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