- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 85 Hour
- Reading permission
continuation of Chapter 3|
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 so.
"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.