Chapter 1

Mr.Jones,oftheManorFarm,hadlockedthehen-housesforthenight,butwastoodrunktoremembertoshutthepop-holes.Withtheringoflightfromhislanterndancingfromsidetoside,helurchedacrosstheyard,kickedoffhisbootsatthebackdoor,drewhimselfalastglassofbeerfromthebarrelinthescullery,andmadehiswayuptobed,whereMrs.Joneswasalreadysnoring.

Assoonasthelightinthebedroomwentouttherewasastirringandaflutteringallthroughthefarmbuildings.WordhadgoneroundduringthedaythatoldMajor,theprizeMiddleWhiteboar,hadhadastrangedreamonthepreviousnightandwishedtocommunicateittotheotheranimals.IthadbeenagreedthattheyshouldallmeetinthebigbarnassoonasMr.Joneswassafelyoutoftheway.OldMajor(sohewasalwayscalled,thoughthenameunderwhichhehadbeenexhibitedwasWillingdonBeauty)wassohighlyregardedonthefarmthateveryonewasquitereadytoloseanhour’ssleepinordertohearwhathehadtosay.

Atoneendofthebigbarn,onasortofraisedplatform,Majorwasalreadyensconcedonhisbedofstraw,underalanternwhichhungfromabeam.Hewastwelveyearsoldandhadlatelygrownratherstout,buthewasstillamajestic-lookingpig,withawiseandbenevolentappearanceinspiteofthefactthathistusheshadneverbeencut.Beforelongtheotheranimalsbegantoarriveandmakethemselvescomfortableaftertheirdifferentfashions.Firstcamethethreedogs,Bluebell,Jessie,andPincher,andthenthepigs,whosettleddowninthestrawimmediatelyinfrontoftheplatform.Thehensperchedthemselvesonthewindow-sills,thepigeonsfluttereduptotherafters,thesheepandcowslaydownbehindthepigsandbegantochewthecud.

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