and on occasion a shot was red from the gun. The sheep were the greatest
devotees of the Spontaneous Demonstration, and if anyone complained (as a
few animals sometimes did, when no pigs or dogs were near) that they wasted
time and meant a lot of standing about in the cold, the sheep were sure to
silence him with a tremendous bleating of ‘Four legs good, two legs bad!’ But
by and large the animals enjoyed these celebrations. They found it comforting
to be reminded that, after all, they were truly their own masters and that the
work they did was for their own benet. So that, what with the songs, the
processions, Squealer’s lists of gures, the thunder of the gun, the crowing of
the cockerel, and the
uttering of the
ag, they were able to forget that their
bellies were empty, at least part of the time.
In April, Animal Farm was proclaimed a Republic, and it became necessary
to elect a President. There was only one candidate, Napoleon, who was elected
unanimously. On the same day it was given out that fresh documents had
been discovered which revealed further details about Snowball’s complicity with
Jones. It now appeared that Snowball had not, as the animals had previously
imagined, merely attempted to lose the Battle of the Cowshed by means of
a stratagem, but had been openly ghting on Jones’s side. In fact, it was
he who had actually been the leader of the human forces, and had charged
into battle with the words ‘Long live Humanity!’ on his lips. The wounds on
Snowball’s back, which a few of the animals still remembered to have seen, had
icted by Napoleon’s teeth.
In the middle of the summer Moses the raven suddenly reappeared on the
farm, after an absence of several years. He was quite unchanged, still did no
work, and talked in the same strain as ever about Sugarcandy Mountain. He
would perch on a stump,
ap his black wings, and talk by the hour to anyone
who would listen. ‘Up there, comrades,’ he would say solemnly, pointing to the
sky with his large beak |‘upthere, just onthe other side of that dark cloud that
you can see |there it lies, Sugarcandy Mountain, that happy country where we
poor animals shall rest for ever from our labours!’ He even claimed to have been
there on one of his higher
ights, and to have seen the everlasting elds of clover
and the linseed cake andlump sugar growing on the hedges. Many of the animals
believed him. Their lives now, they reasoned, were hungry and laborious; was it
not right and just that a better worldshould exist somewhere else? A thing that
was dicult to determine was the attitude of the pigs towards Moses. They all
declared contemptuously that his stories about Sugarcandy Mountain were lies,
and yet they allowed him to remain on the farm, not working, with an allowance
of a gill of beer a day.
After his hoof had healed up, Boxer worked harder than ever. Indeed, all the
animals worked like slaves that year. Apart from the regular work of the farm,
and the rebuilding of the windmill, there was the schoolhouse for the young
pigs, which was started in March. Sometimes the long hours on insucient
food were hard to bear, but Boxer never faltered. In nothing that he said or did
was there any sign that his strength was not what it had been. It was only his
appearance that was a little altered; his hide was less shiny than it had used to
be, and his great haunches seemed to have shrunken. The others said, ‘Boxer
will pick up when the spring grass comes on’; but the spring came and Boxer
grew no fatter. Sometimes on the slope leading to the top of the quarry, when
he braced his muscles against the weight of some vast boulder, it seemed that
nothing kept him on his feet except the will to continue. At such times his lips
were seen to form the words, ‘I will work harder’; he had no voice left. Once
again Clover and Benjamin warned him to take care of his health, but Boxer
paid no attention. His twelfth birthday was approaching. He did not care what
happened so long as a good store of stone was accumulated before he went on
Late one evening in the summer, a sudden rumour ran round the farm that
something had happened to Boxer. He had gone out alone to drag a load of
stone down to the windmill. And sure enough, the rumour was true. A few
minutes later two pigeons came racing in with the news: ‘Boxer has fallen! He
is lying on his side and can’t get up!’
About half the animals on the farm rushed out to the knoll where the wind-
mill stood. There lay Boxer, between the shafts of the cart, his neck stretched
out, unable even to raise his head. His eyes were glazed, his sides matted with
sweat. A thin stream of blood had trickled out of his mouth. Clover dropped
to her knees at his side.
‘Boxer!’ she cried, ‘how are you?’
‘It is my lung,’ said Boxer in a weak voice. ‘It does not matter. I think you
will be able to nish the windmill without me. There is a pretty good store of
stone accumulated. I had only another month to go in any case. To tell you the
truth, I had been looking forward to my retirement. And perhaps, as Benjamin
is growing old too, they will let him retire at the same time and be a companion
‘We must get help at once,’ said Clover. ‘Run, somebody, and tell Squealer
what has happened.’
All the other animals immediately raced back to the farmhouse to give
Squealer the news. Only Clover remained, and Benjamin who lay down at
Boxer’s side, and, without speaking, kept the
ies o him with his long tail. Af-
ter about a quarter of an hour Squealer appeared, full of sympathy and concern.
He said that Comrade Napoleon had learned with the very deepest distress of
this misfortune to one of the most loyal workers on the farm, and was already
making arrangements to send Boxer to be treated in the hospital at Willingdon.
The animals felt a little uneasy at this. Except for Mollie and Snowball, no
other animal had ever left the farm, and they did not like to think of their sick
comrade in the hands of human beings. However, Squealer easily convinced
them that the veterinary surgeon in Willingdon could treat Boxer’s case more
satisfactorily than could be done on the farm. And about half an hour later,
when Boxer had somewhat recovered, he was with diculty got on to his feet,
and managed to limp back to his stall, where Clover and Benjamin hadprepared
agood bed of straw for him.
For the next two days Boxer remained in his stall. The pigs had sent out a
large bottle of pink medicine which they had found in the medicine chest in the
bathroom, and Clover administered it to Boxer twice a day after meals. In the
evenings she lay in his stall and talked to him, while Benjamin kept the
him. Boxer professed not to be sorry for what had happened. If he made a good
recovery, he might expect to live another three years, and he looked forward to
the peaceful days that he would spend in the corner of the big pasture. It
would be the rst time that he had had leisure to study and improve his mind.
He intended, he said, to devote the rest of his life to learning the remaining
twenty-two letters of the alphabet.
However, BenjaminandClover could only be withBoxer after working hours,
and it was in the middle of the day when the van came to take him away. The
animals were all at work weeding turnips under the supervision of a pig, when
they were astonished to see Benjamin come galloping from the direction of the
farm buildings, braying at the top of his voice. It was the rst time that they
had ever seen Benjamin excited | indeed, it was the rst time that anyone
had ever seen him gallop. ‘Quick, quick!’ he shouted. ‘Come at once! They’re
taking Boxer away!’ Without waiting for orders from the pig, the animals broke
o work and raced back to the farm buildings. Sure enough, there in the yard
was a large closed van, drawn by two horses, with lettering on its side and a
sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat sitting on the driver’s seat. And
Boxer’s stall was empty.
The animals crowded round the van. ‘Good-bye, Boxer!’ they chorused,
‘Fools! Fools!’ shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping the
earth with his small hoofs. ‘Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side
of that van?’
That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel began to spell
out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly
silence he read:
‘Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer
in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.’ Do you not understand what that
means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker’s!’
Acry of horror burst from all the animals. At this moment the man on the
box whipped up his horses and the van moved out of the yard at a smart trot.
All the animals followed, crying out at the tops of their voices. Clover forced her
way to the front. The van began to gather speed. Clover tried to stir her stout
limbs to a gallop, and achieved a canter. ‘Boxer!’ she cried. ‘Boxer! Boxer!
Boxer!’ And just at this moment, as though he had heard the uproar outside,
Boxer’s face, with the white stripe down his nose, appeared at the small window
at the back of the van.
‘Boxer!’ cried Clover in a terrible voice. ‘Boxer! Get out! Get out quickly!
They’re taking you to your death!’
All the animals took up the cry of ‘Get out, Boxer, get out!’ But the van
was already gathering speed and drawing away from them. It was uncertain
whether Boxer had understood what Clover had said. But a moment later his
face disappeared from the window and there was the sound of a tremendous
drumming of hoofs inside the van. He was trying to kick his way out. The time
had been when a few kicks from Boxer’s hoofs would have smashed the van
to matchwood. But alas! his strength had left him; and in a few moments the
soundof drumming hoofs grew fainter anddiedaway. In desperationthe animals
began appealing to the two horses which drew the van to stop. ‘Comrades,
comrades!’ they shouted. ‘Don’t take your own brother to his death!’ But the
stupid brutes, too ignorant to realise what was happening, merely set back their
ears and quickened their pace. Boxer’s face did not reappear at the window.
Too late, someone thought of racing ahead and shutting the ve-barred gate;
but in another moment the van was through it and rapidly disappearing down
the road. Boxer was never seen again.
Three days later it was announced that he had died in the hospital at Will-
ingdon, in spite of receiving every attention a horse could have. Squealer came
to announce the news to the others. He had, he said, been present during
Boxer’s last hours.
‘It was the most aecting sight I have ever seen!’ said Squealer, lifting his
trotter and wiping away a tear. ‘I was at his bedside at the very last. And at
the end, almost too weak to speak, he whispered in my ear that his sole sorrow
was to have passed on before the windmill was nished. ’Forward, comrades!’
he whispered. ’Forward in the name of the Rebellion. Long live Animal Farm!
Long live Comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always right.’ Those were his very
last words, comrades.’
Here Squealer’s demeanour suddenly changed. He fell silent for a moment,
and his little eyes darted suspicious glances from side to side before he proceeded.
It had come to his knowledge, he said, that a foolish and wicked rumour had
been circulated at the time of Boxer’s removal. Some of the animals had noticed
that the van which took Boxer away was marked ‘Horse Slaughterer,’ and had
actually jumped to the conclusion that Boxer was being sent to the knacker’s.
It was almost unbelievable, said Squealer, that any animal could be so stupid.
Surely, he cried indignantly, whisking his tail and skipping from side to side,
surely they knew their beloved Leader, Comrade Napoleon, better than that?
But the explanation was really very simple. The van had previously been the
property of the knacker, and had been bought by the veterinary surgeon, who
had not yet painted the old name out. That was how the mistake had arisen.
The animals were enormously relieved to hear this. And whenSquealer went
on to give further graphic details of Boxer’s death-bed, the admirable care he
had received, and the expensive medicines for whichNapoleon had paid without
athought as to the cost, their last doubts disappeared and the sorrow that they
felt for their comrade’s death was tempered by the thought that at least he had
Napoleon himself appeared at the meeting on the following Sunday morning
and pronounced a short oration in Boxer’s honour. It had not been possible,
he said, to bring back their lamented comrade’s remains for interment on the
farm, but he had ordered a large wreath to be made from the laurels in the
farmhouse garden and sent down to be placed on Boxer’s grave. And in a few
days’ time the pigs intended to hold a memorial banquet in Boxer’s honour.
Napoleon ended his speech with a reminder of Boxer’s two favourite maxims, ‘I
will work harder’ and ‘Comrade Napoleon is always right’ | maxims, he said,
which every animal would do well to adopt as his own.
On the day appointed for the banquet, a grocer’s van drove up from Will-
ingdon and delivered a large wooden crate at the farmhouse. That night there
was the sound of uproarious singing, which was followed by what sounded like
aviolent quarrel and ended at about eleven o’clock with a tremendous crash of
glass. No one stirred in the farmhouse before noon on the following day, and
the word went round that from somewhere or other the pigs had acquired the
money to buy themselves another case of whisky.
Years passed. The seasons came and went, the short animal lives
ed by. A
time came when there was no one who remembered the old days before the
Rebellion, except Clover, Benjamin, Moses the raven, and a number of the pigs.
Muriel was dead; Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher were dead. Jones too was
dead | he had died in an inebriates’ home in another part of the country.
Snowball was forgotten. Boxer was forgotten, except by the few who had known
him. Clover was an old stout mare now, sti in the joints and with a tendency
to rheumy eyes. She was two years past the retiring age, but in fact no animal
had ever actually retired. The talk of setting aside a corner of the pasture
for superannuated animals had long since been dropped. Napoleon was now
a mature boar of twenty-four stone. Squealer was so fat that he could with
diculty see out of his eyes. Only old Benjamin was much the same as ever,
except for being a little greyer about the muzzle, and, since Boxer’s death, more
morose and taciturn than ever.
There were many more creatures on the farm now, though the increase was
not so great as had been expected in earlier years. Many animals had been
born to whom the Rebellion was only a dim tradition, passed on by word of
mouth, and others had been bought who had never heard mention of such a
thing before their arrival. The farm possessed three horses now besides Clover.
They were ne upstanding beasts, willing workers and good comrades, but very
stupid. None of them proved able to learn the alphabet beyond the letter B.
They accepted everything that they were told about the Rebellion and the
principles of Animalism, especially from Clover, for whom they had an almost
lial respect; but it was doubtful whether they understood very much of it.
The farm was more prosperous now, and better organised: it had even been
enlarged by two elds which had been bought from Mr. Pilkington. The wind-
mill had been successfully completed at last, and the farm possessed a thresh-
ing machine and a hay elevator of its own, and various new buildings had been
added to it. Whymper had bought himself a dogcart. The windmill, however,
had not after all been used for generating electrical power. It was used for
milling corn, and brought in a handsome money prot. The animals were hard
at work building yet another windmill; when that one was nished, so it was
said, the dynamos would be installed. But the luxuries of which Snowball had
once taught the animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and
cold water, and the three-day week, were no longer talked about. Napoleon
had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest
happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally.
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making
the animals themselves any richer | except, of course, for the pigs and the
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested