The Complete Works of



George Orwell > Animal Farm > Chapter VIII

Animal Farm

Chapter VIII

A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down,
some of the animals remembered--or thought they remembered--that the Sixth
Commandment decreed "No animal shall kill any other animal." And though no
one cared to mention it in the hearing of the pigs or the dogs, it was
felt that the killings which had taken place did not square with this.
Clover asked Benjamin to read her the Sixth Commandment, and when
Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such matters, she
fetched Muriel. Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: "No animal
shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE." Somehow or other, the last two
words had slipped out of the animals' memory. But they saw now that the
Commandment had not been violated; for clearly there was good reason for
killing the traitors who had leagued themselves with Snowball.

Throughout the year the animals worked even harder than they had worked in
the previous year. To rebuild the windmill, with walls twice as thick as
before, and to finish it by the appointed date, together with the regular
work of the farm, was a tremendous labour. There were times when it seemed
to the animals that they worked longer hours and fed no better than they
had done in Jones's day. On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a long
strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures
proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by
two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent, or five hundred per cent,
as the case might be. The animals saw no reason to disbelieve him,
especially as they could no longer remember very clearly what conditions
had been like before the Rebellion. All the same, there were days when
they felt that they would sooner have had less figures and more food.

All orders were now issued through Squealer or one of the other pigs.
Napoleon himself was not seen in public as often as once in a fortnight.
When he did appear, he was attended not only by his retinue of dogs but by
a black cockerel who marched in front of him and acted as a kind of
trumpeter, letting out a loud "cock-a-doodle-doo" before Napoleon spoke.
Even in the farmhouse, it was said, Napoleon inhabited separate apartments
from the others. He took his meals alone, with two dogs to wait upon him,
and always ate from the Crown Derby dinner service which had been in the
glass cupboard in the drawing-room. It was also announced that the gun
would be fired every year on Napoleon's birthday, as well as on the other
two anniversaries.

Napoleon was now never spoken of simply as "Napoleon." He was always
referred to in formal style as "our Leader, Comrade Napoleon," and this
pigs liked to invent for him such titles as Father of All Animals, Terror
of Mankind, Protector of the Sheep-fold, Ducklings' Friend, and the like.
In his speeches, Squealer would talk with the tears rolling down his
cheeks of Napoleon's wisdom the goodness of his heart, and the deep love
he bore to all animals everywhere, even and especially the unhappy animals
who still lived in ignorance and slavery on other farms. It had become
usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and
every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to
another, "Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid
five eggs in six days"; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would
exclaim, "Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this
water tastes!" The general feeling on the farm was well expressed in a
poem entitled Comrade Napoleon, which was composed by Minimus and which
ran as follows:

Friend of fatherless!
Fountain of happiness!
Lord of the swill-bucket! Oh, how my soul is on
Fire when I gaze at thy
Calm and commanding eye,
Like the sun in the sky,
Comrade Napoleon!

Thou are the giver of
All that thy creatures love,
Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon;
Every beast great or small
Sleeps at peace in his stall,
Thou watchest over all,
Comrade Napoleon!

Had I a sucking-pig,
Ere he had grown as big
Even as a pint bottle or as a rolling-pin,
He should have learned to be
Faithful and true to thee,
Yes, his first squeak should be
"Comrade Napoleon!"

Napoleon approved of this poem and caused it to be inscribed on the wall
of the big barn, at the opposite end from the Seven Commandments. It was
surmounted by a portrait of Napoleon, in profile, executed by Squealer in
white paint.

Meanwhile, through the agency of Whymper, Napoleon was engaged in
complicated negotiations with Frederick and Pilkington. The pile of timber
was still unsold. Of the two, Frederick was the more anxious to get hold
of it, but he would not offer a reasonable price. At the same time there
were renewed rumours that Frederick and his men were plotting to attack
Animal Farm and to destroy the windmill, the building of which had aroused
furious jealousy in him. Snowball was known to be still skulking on
Pinchfield Farm. In the middle of the summer the animals were alarmed to
hear that three hens had come forward and confessed that, inspired by
Snowball, they had entered into a plot to murder Napoleon. They were
executed immediately, and fresh precautions for Napoleon's safety were
taken. Four dogs guarded his bed at night, one at each corner, and a young
pig named Pinkeye was given the task of tasting all his food before he ate
it, lest it should be poisoned.

At about the same time it was given out that Napoleon had arranged to sell
the pile of timber to Mr. Pilkington; he was also going to enter into a
regular agreement for the exchange of certain products between Animal Farm
and Foxwood. The relations between Napoleon and Pilkington, though they
were only conducted through Whymper, were now almost friendly. The animals
distrusted Pilkington, as a human being, but greatly preferred him to
Frederick, whom they both feared and hated. As the summer wore on, and the
windmill neared completion, the rumours of an impending treacherous attack
grew stronger and stronger. Frederick, it was said, intended to bring
against them twenty men all armed with guns, and he had already bribed the
magistrates and police, so that if he could once get hold of the
title-deeds of Animal Farm they would ask no questions. Moreover, terrible
stories were leaking out from Pinchfield about the cruelties that
Frederick practised upon his animals. He had flogged an old horse to
death, he starved his cows, he had killed a dog by throwing it into the
furnace, he amused himself in the evenings by making cocks fight with
splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs. The animals' blood boiled
with rage when they heard of these things beingdone to their comrades,
and sometimes they clamoured to be allowed to go out in a body and attack
Pinchfield Farm, drive out the humans, and set the animals free. But
Squealer counselled them to avoid rash actions and trust in Comrade
Napoleon's strategy.

Nevertheless, feeling against Frederick continued to run high. One Sunday
morning Napoleon appeared in the barn and explained that he had never at
any time contemplated selling the pile of timber to Frederick; he
considered it beneath his dignity, he said, to have dealings with
scoundrels of that description. The pigeons who were still sent out to
spread tidings of the Rebellion were forbidden to set foot anywhere on
Foxwood, and were also ordered to drop their former slogan of "Death to
Humanity" in favour of "Death to Frederick." In the late summer yet
another of Snowball's machinations was laid bare. The wheat crop was full
of weeds, and it was discovered that on one of his nocturnal visits
Snowball had mixed weed seeds with the seed corn. A gander who had been
privy to the plot had confessed his guilt to Squealer and immediately
committed suicide by swallowing deadly nightshade berries. The animals
now also learned that Snowball had never--as many of them had believed
hitherto--received the order of "Animal Hero, First Class." This was
merely a legend which had been spread some time after the Battle of the
Cowshed by Snowball himself. So far from being decorated, he had been
censured for showing cowardice in the battle. Once again some of the
animals heard this with a certain bewilderment, but Squealer was soon able
to convince them that their memories had been at fault.

In the autumn, by a tremendous, exhausting effort--for the harvest had to
be gathered at almost the same time--the windmill was finished. The
machinery had still to be installed, and Whymper was negotiating the
purchase of it, but the structure was completed. In the teeth of every
difficulty, in spite of inexperience, of primitive implements, of bad luck
and of Snowball's treachery, the work had been finished punctually to the
very day! Tired out but proud, the animals walked round and round their
masterpiece, which appeared even more beautiful in their eyes than when it
had been built the first time. Moreover, the walls were twice as thick as
before. Nothing short of explosives would lay them low this time! And when
they thought of how they had laboured, what discouragements they had
overcome, and the enormous difference that would be made in their lives
when the sails were turning and the dynamos running--when they thought of
all this, their tiredness forsook them and they gambolled round and round
the windmill, uttering cries of triumph. Napoleon himself, attended by his
dogs and his cockerel, came down to inspect the completed work; he
personally congratulated the animals on their achievement, and announced
that the mill would be named Napoleon Mill.

Two days later the animals were called together for a special meeting in
the barn. They were struck dumb with surprise when Napoleon announced that
he had sold the pile of timber to Frederick. Tomorrow Frederick's wagons
would arrive and begin carting it away. Throughout the whole period of his
seeming friendship with Pilkington, Napoleon had really been in secret
agreement with Frederick.

All relations with Foxwood had been broken off; insulting messages had
been sent to Pilkington. The pigeons had been told to avoid Pinchfield
Farm and to alter their slogan from "Death to Frederick" to "Death to
Pilkington." At the same time Napoleon assured the animals that the
stories of an impending attack on Animal Farm were completely untrue, and
that the tales about Frederick's cruelty to his own animals had been
greatly exaggerated. All these rumours had probably originated with
Snowball and his agents. It now appeared that Snowball was not, after all,
hiding on Pinchfield Farm, and in fact had never been there in his life:
he was living--in considerable luxury, so it was said--at Foxwood, and had
in reality been a pensioner of Pilkington for years past.

The pigs were in ecstasies over Napoleon's cunning. By seeming to be
friendly with Pilkington he had forced Frederick to raise his price by
twelve pounds. But the superior quality of Napoleon's mind, said Squealer,
was shown in the fact that he trusted nobody, not even Frederick.
Frederick had wanted to pay for the timber with something called a cheque,
which, it seemed, was a piece of paper with a promise to pay written upon
it. But Napoleon was too clever for him. He had demanded payment in real
five-pound notes, which were to be handed over before the timber was
removed. Already Frederick had paid up; and the sum he had paid was just
enough to buy the machinery for the windmill.

Meanwhile the timber was being carted away at high speed. When it was all
gone, another special meeting was held in the barn for the animals to
inspect Frederick's bank-notes. Smiling beatifically, and wearing both his
decorations, Napoleon reposed on a bed of straw on the platform, with the
money at his side, neatly piled on a china dish from the farmhouse
kitchen. The animals filed slowly past, and each gazed his fill. And Boxer
put out his nose to sniff at the bank-notes, and the flimsy white things
stirred and rustled in his breath.

Three days later there was a terrible hullabaloo. Whymper, his face deadly
pale, came racing up the path on his bicycle, flung it down in the yard
and rushed straight into the farmhouse. The next moment a choking roar of
rage sounded from Napoleon's apartments. The news of what had happened
sped round the farm like wildfire. The banknotes were forgeries! Frederick
had got the timber for nothing!

Napoleon called the animals together immediately and in a terrible voice
pronounced the death sentence upon Frederick. When captured, he said,
Frederick should be boiled alive. At the same time he warned them that
after this treacherous deed the worst was to be expected. Frederick and
his men might make their long-expected attack at any moment. Sentinels
were placed at all the approaches to the farm. In addition, four pigeons
were sent to Foxwood with a conciliatory message, which it was hoped might
re-establish good relations with Pilkington.

The very next morning the attack came. The animals were at breakfast when
the look-outs came racing in with the news that Frederick and his
followers had already come through the five-barred gate. Boldly enough the
animals sallied forth to meet them, but this time they did not have the
easy victory that they had had in the Battle of the Cowshed. There were
fifteen men, with half a dozen guns between them, and they opened fire as
soon as they got within fifty yards. The animals could not face the
terrible explosions and the stinging pellets, and in spite of the efforts
of Napoleon and Boxer to rally them, they were soon driven back. A number
of them were already wounded. They took refuge in the farm buildings and
peeped cautiously out from chinks and knot-holes. The whole of the big
pasture, including the windmill, was in the hands of the enemy. For the
moment even Napoleon seemed at a loss. He paced up and down without a
word, his tail rigid and twitching. Wistful glances were sent in the
direction of Foxwood. If Pilkington and his men would help them, the day
might yet be won. But at this moment the four pigeons, who had been sent
out on the day before, returned, one of them bearing a scrap of paper from
Pilkington. On it was pencilled the words: "Serves you right."

Meanwhile Frederick and his men had halted about the windmill. The animals
watched them, and a murmur of dismay went round. Two of the men had
produced a crowbar and a sledge hammer. They were going to knock the
windmill down.

"Impossible!" cried Napoleon. "We have built the walls far too thick for
that. They could not knock it down in a week. Courage, comrades!"

But Benjamin was watching the movements of the men intently. The two with
the hammer and the crowbar were drilling a hole near the base of the
windmill. Slowly, and with an air almost of amusement, Benjamin nodded his
long muzzle.

"I thought so," he said. "Do you not see what they are doing? In another
moment they are going to pack blasting powder into that hole."

Terrified, the animals waited. It was impossible now to venture out of the
shelter of the buildings. After a few minutes the men were seen to be
running in all directions. Then there was a deafening roar. The pigeons
swirled into the air, and all the animals, except Napoleon, flung
themselves flat on their bellies and hid their faces. When they got up
again, a huge cloud of black smoke was hanging where the windmill had
been. Slowly the breeze drifted it away. The windmill had ceased to exist!

At this sight the animals' courage returned to them. The fear and despair
they had felt a moment earlier were drowned in their rage against this
vile, contemptible act. A mighty cry for vengeance went up, and without
waiting for further orders they charged forth in a body and made straight
for the enemy. This time they did not heed the cruel pellets that swept
over them like hail. It was a savage, bitter battle. The men fired again
and again, and, when the animals got to close quarters, lashed out with
their sticks and their heavy boots. A cow, three sheep, and two geese were
killed, and nearly everyone was wounded. Even Napoleon, who was directing
operations from the rear, had the tip of his tail chipped by a pellet. But
the men did not go unscathed either. Three of them had their heads broken
by blows from Boxer's hoofs; another was gored in the belly by a cow's
horn; another had his trousers nearly torn off by Jessie and Bluebell. And
when the nine dogs of Napoleon's own bodyguard, whom he had instructed to
make a detour under cover of the hedge, suddenly appeared on the men's
flank, baying ferociously, panic overtook them. They saw that they were in
danger of being surrounded. Frederick shouted to his men to get out while
the going was good, and the next moment the cowardly enemy was running for
dear life. The animals chased them right down to the bottom of the field,
and got in some last kicks at them as they forced their way through the
thorn hedge.

They had won, but they were weary and bleeding. Slowly they began to limp
back towards the farm. The sight of their dead comrades stretched upon the
grass moved some of them to tears. And for a little while they halted in
sorrowful silence at the place where the windmill had once stood. Yes, it
was gone; almost the last trace of their labour was gone! Even the
foundations were partially destroyed. And in rebuilding it they could not
this time, as before, make use of the fallen stones. This time the stones
had vanished too. The force of the explosion had flung them to distances
of hundreds of yards. It was as though the windmill had never been.

As they approached the farm Squealer, who had unaccountably been absent
during the fighting, came skipping towards them, whisking his tail and
beaming with satisfaction. And the animals heard, from the direction of
the farm buildings, the solemn booming of a gun.

"What is that gun firing for?" said Boxer.

"To celebrate our victory!" cried Squealer.

"What victory?" said Boxer. His knees were bleeding, he had lost a shoe
and split his hoof, and a dozen pellets had lodged themselves in his hind

"What victory, comrade? Have we not driven the enemy off our soil--the
sacred soil of Animal Farm?"

"But they have destroyed the windmill. And we had worked on it for two

"What matter? We will build another windmill. We will build six windmills
if we feel like it. You do not appreciate, comrade, the mighty thing that
we have done. The enemy was in occupation of this very ground that we
stand upon. And now--thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon--we have
won every inch of it back again!"

"Then we have won back what we had before," said Boxer.

"That is our victory," said Squealer.

They limped into the yard. The pellets under the skin of Boxer's leg
smarted painfully. He saw ahead of him the heavy labour of rebuilding the
windmill from the foundations, and already in imagination he braced
himself for the task. But for the first time it occurred to him that he
was eleven years old and that perhaps his great muscles were not quite
what they had once been.

But when the animals saw the green flag flying, and heard the gun firing
again--seven times it was fired in all--and heard the speech that Napoleon
made, congratulating them on their conduct, it did seem to them after all
that they had won a great victory. The animals slain in the battle were
given a solemn funeral. Boxer and Clover pulled the wagon which served as
a hearse, and Napoleon himself walked at the head of the procession. Two
whole days were given over to celebrations. There were songs, speeches,
and more firing of the gun, and a special gift of an apple was bestowed on
every animal, with two ounces of corn for each bird and three biscuits for
each dog. It was announced that the battle would be called the Battle of
the Windmill, and that Napoleon had created a new decoration, the Order
of the Green Banner, which he had conferred upon himself. In the general
rejoicings the unfortunate affair of the banknotes was forgotten.

It was a few days later than this that the pigs came upon a case of whisky
in the cellars of the farmhouse. It had been overlooked at the time when
the house was first occupied. That night there came from the farmhouse the
sound of loud singing, in which, to everyone's surprise, the strains of
'Beasts of England' were mixed up. At about half past nine Napoleon,
wearing an old bowler hat of Mr. Jones's, was distinctly seen to emerge
from the back door, gallop rapidly round the yard, and disappear indoors
again. But in the morning a deep silence hung over the farmhouse. Not a
pig appeared to be stirring. It was nearly nine o'clock when Squealer made
his appearance, walking slowly and dejectedly, his eyes dull, his tail
hanging limply behind him, and with every appearance of being seriously
ill. He called the animals together and told them that he had a terrible
piece of news to impart. Comrade Napoleon was dying!

A cry of lamentation went up. Straw was laid down outside the doors of the
farmhouse, and the animals walked on tiptoe. With tears in their eyes they
asked one another what they should do if their Leader were taken away from
them. A rumour went round that Snowball had after all contrived to
introduce poison into Napoleon's food. At eleven o'clock Squealer came
out to make another announcement. As his last act upon earth, Comrade
Napoleon had pronounced a solemn decree: the drinking of alcohol was to be
punished by death.

By the evening, however, Napoleon appeared to be somewhat better, and the
following morning Squealer was able to tell them that he was well on the
way to recovery. By the evening of that day Napoleon was back at work, and
on the next day it was learned that he had instructed Whymper to purchase
in Willingdon some booklets on brewing and distilling. A week later
Napoleon gave orders that the small paddock beyond the orchard, which it
had previously been intended to set aside as a grazing-ground for animals
who were past work, was to be ploughed up. It was given out that the
pasture was exhausted and needed re-seeding; but it soon became known that
Napoleon intended to sow it with barley.

About this time there occurred a strange incident which hardly anyone was
able to understand. One night at about twelve o'clock there was a loud
crash in the yard, and the animals rushed out of their stalls. It was a
moonlit night. At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the
Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces.
Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand
there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint.
The dogs immediately made a ring round Squealer, and escorted him back to
the farmhouse as soon as he was able to walk. None of the animals could
form any idea as to what this meant, except old Benjamin, who nodded his
muzzle with a knowing air, and seemed to understand, but would say nothing.

But a few days later Muriel, reading over the Seven Commandments to
herself, noticed that there was yet another of them which the animals had
remembered wrong. They had thought the Fifth Commandment was "No animal
shall drink alcohol," but there were two words that they had forgotten.
Actually the Commandment read: "No animal shall drink alcohol TO EXCESS."

< Back
Forward >

Index Index

  • Other Authors:    
> Charles Darwin
> Charles Dickens
> Mark Twain
> William Shakespeare

George Orwell. Copyright 2003,
Contact the webmaster
Disclaimer here. Privacy Policy here.