By Israel Shamir
sifting through the archives of George Orwell I came across a long
letter apparently written by one of the late writer’s friends. The
letter purports to be a follow-up to the events which took place on
Animal Farm, that unique experiment in animal self rule:
George, My research brought me to the Farm in **shire, which you
described so vividly in your book. I can’t tell you how excited I
was to receive the Academy grant to study the only Farm in the world
where Animals managed their own affairs.
I knew that
full democracy at the Farm had been substituted almost immediately
by the harsh rule of Pigs and their ferocious Dogs, so I was rather
afraid to cross its well-fortified perimeter. As I was driven in a
Horse-cart through the wide avenues of the Farmstead, Linda the
Piglet told me that the horrors of oppression described in your book
were now consigned to history and a liberal system had come into
was one of the least efficient farms in the area. But the Animals
were well fed and decently housed, though in rather shabby shacks.
It was not a place of total equality; a small band of specially bred
Pigs was in charge. But even their superior conditions did not seem
to differ greatly from the rest - a bit more grub, a slightly bigger
shack, access to a Farm- owned cart.
were not content. And the closer an Animal was to the pinnacle of
power, the more dissatisfied she or he was. Linda’s dream was to go
into the world of Humans and become the star of the Muppet Show.
That evening she brought some friends round to my Human Lodge room.
They were ruling Pigs and intellectual Foxes - the only kinds of the
animals which a stranger like me would meet at the Farm. The
proletarian Horses and peasant Cows couldn't speak Human language
visitors complained. The Pigs compared their sty with palaces of
Texan oil millionaires (they watched «Dallas»). I met one prominent
Pig, Stinky, who had everything the Farm could give. He was the boss
of the Massage parlour for the Ruling Pigs and therefore belonged to
the elite. That meant unlimited grub, a nice sty in the Centre, a
comfortable country cottage and opportunities to go to London and
«You must be
content with your life,» I commented.
«No, I am an
unhappy creature,» he whined, «whenever I go to Paris or New York I
have to economize and stay in our own service flats. The joys of the
Cote d’Azur are not for me, I cannot shop in the Faubourg St
have your own pretty vacation resorts, your own jewelers,» I argued.
not as good as yours,»he said firmly.
were even less happy. «We are forced to live in the same houses as
horses,» a Red Fox told me. «We with our superb education - living
with those coarse beasts.» The Silver Foxes proudly proclaimed their
North American origin; one showed me an article in the Encyclopedia
Britannica attesting to this fact.
he said, «we could be living in Beverly Hills. I have a relative who
moved back to America and has landed on Nancy Reagan’s shoulders.»
«Life is so
gorgeous outside,» exclaimed Linda. «I once went to a Pig exhibition
in Montreal. We stayed in golden sties, washed in huge bathtubs and
were served real French fries. Just think: we all could have such a
life. But our bosses will not have it. They keep telling us that
Humans would eat us, slaughter us, take away our children... Tell
us, how can we get rid of the ruling Pigs and join Humankind?»
myself in a dubious position. This enthusiasm for Human society was
exciting and contagious, but the vision was patently too optimistic.
I mumbled something about pork chops. Linda looked at me with
horror: «I should have figured it out for myself - if you were
invited to the Farm, you must have agreed to support Rotten’s
brainwashing machine. It»s good that not all Humans are like that.
Mr Johnson, for example...»
«Who is Mr
Johnson?,» I inquired.
«I am Mr
Johnson,» said a tall, blond, clean-shaven man in a well-cut grey
suit who entered my room without knocking.
Johnson,» the others greeted him. «You are back. Did you bring those
little things you promised?»
«Yes, I did.
Here is a pack of Marlboros for you, Linda, and some Christian Dior
for you, Stinky, and blue jeans for you, Rose...»
that Mr Johnson was the heir to the huge Johnson Ranch to the West
and was a regular visitor to Animal Farm where he would buy up
surplus produce and sell nice things from the Big World.
told me that his father, Jamison Johnson senior, dreamed of making
his eastern neighbour's lands part of his estate. If modernized,
Animal Farm could be a good source of income, producing milk, meat
aside, Mr Johnson senior was quite obsessed with the idea of
regaining Animal Farm for people. «The thought of animals ruling
themselves is a horrible profanity,» he would say, «it could lead my
cows and horses into temptation.»
Johnson junior had come that evening for a special religious
occasion - to celebrate the Cargo Cult. Its Chief Priest was Stinky.
gentlemen,» Stinky proclaimed, «let us thank our Great Benefactor,
dear Mr Johnson. And let us thank The Great Box of Goods.» The
Johnson had some bad news: «We tried to convince Chairman Rotten to
sell us some meadows which border with our Ranch, but he didn’t
agree. That is why you cannot have all the sweets and goodies you
asked for, dear Stinky.»
Rotten,» fumed Stinky, «What do we need those meadows for? We have
enough meadows. It’s sweets we are short of. Next week I’ll come to
your ranch and we shall see what we can do.»
away hand in hand.
I did not
understand then that I had witnessed the great moment: the beginning
of the revolution which was to change the face of Animal Farm...
A few days
later I switched on the TV in my Human's guest room in Animal Farm
and instead of the usual stories about the Best Working Horses I saw
Stinky's visit to Mr Johnson's Farm. It was just like a royal visit,
with a red carpet and a sea of journalists and cameras. Overnight,
Stinky had become the most popular Pig in the world. Even Animals
who had known him for years started to look at him with new eyes as
make our life every bit as jolly as that of the Johnsons.'
life on Animal Farm had been boring but easy-going. Every animal got
its low quality but ample fodder and had no reason to work harder.
But all this was going to change.
Then, Max the Fox - a Fox of
good standing with many influential Pig friends -received a novel
toy from Johnson. It was a glorious, flashing, Japanese video box. A
Pig with access to the press that printed the chits for hay sales
bought the video box. But Max the Fox made a smarter move: he used
his small worthless chits to buy huge amounts of hay which he drove
to Johnson's to swap for 20 more video boxes.
quite an impact on the Animals. Now they could see that the good
life was not tilling fields nor weaving cloth, but selling videos
and exporting hay.
and Pigs started to sell hay to bring in Human delights. And hay
became scarce. Proletarian Cows and Horses had to queue, waiting for
working: queuing for hay was consuming all their time. As hay became
scarce Foxes discovered that they could get handsome profits by
selling hay for more chits. And although the Horses and Cows were
unhappy nobody understood their language.
old-style Pigs opposed Stinky. They thought one should leave some
fodder for Animals, and they were supported by a small and esoteric
group of intellectual Horses who tried to remind the Animals that
life outside also included slaughterhouses.
was unstoppable. When he introduced a new freedom of speech
campaign, Mr Johnson Senior unveiled a competition for the best
piece of journalism debunking Animal Farm's past. All dark spots of
the Farm's history were exposed, all skeletons were removed from the
closets, while life outside was truly glorified.
became a miserable place. Stinky was awarded honorary doctorates at
Salamanca and Oxford but became increasingly unpopular back home.
Stinky will be overthrown, the Old Guard Pigs will rule again and we
shall lose all our hard-earned villas and millions,' said Max the
Fox to his friends. 'It's time to act.' He remembered Tough the Hog,
once in charge of a farmstead but dismissed by the senior Pigs in a
row over stolen tarts. Tough was a great admirer of the Human way of
life which he felt consisted of executive jets and whisky galore.
Max found Tough inside his sty brooding over an empty bottle and
offered him the chance of a lifetime...
went to Stinky and warned him of the danger: 'You will be overthrown
if you do not protect yourself. You must use the Dogs for your own
'How can I -
a Salamanca and Oxford Doctor of Philosophy - behave like an old
founder of the Farm?' Stinky whined. But eventually he agreed that
the Dogs could be brought in on the sly.
Max chose old toothless
Dogs and placed them around Stinky's residence. Then Tough the Hog
appeared with a carefully chosen band of Foxes. 'Bite me if you
dare,' he exclaimed, 'but you cannot stop the Animals craving for
the Human way of life.'
words were immediately broadcast by Johnson TV and brought many a
cheer. The Foxes rushed for the palace, while the old Dogs could not
figure out what they were supposed to do... Stinky claimed he had
been imprisoned by the Dogs but this cut no ice with Tough's band.
He was dismissed and locked up. The Day of Great Victory over the
Dogs was made a national holiday and a statue of Tough strangling a
ferocious Baskerville Hound was erected on the main square.
rule is over,' proclaimed Tough the Hog. Pigs who supported Tough
were renamed Swine. Tough did not care for the old style titles: he
accepted a perfectly Human position of Executive Manager.
more meadows and pastures belonging to Animal Farm were handed over
to Human ranch owners in exchange for Free Aid. Johnson fortified
his fences to stop hungry Horses and Cows grazing there, and only
Foxes and Swine engaged in export were allowed across.
could they export?' I wondered - until I spotted Max overseeing a
truck being loaded up with rather thin Cows.
to be the only Farm that has lots of Cattle but does not export
beef,' he explained.
Some of the Animals - mainly Horses and few
Pigs - began to notice what was going on and gathered in protest.
'Animal Farm for Animals!' they shouted. 'Do not sell us to the
The gates of
Tough's office opened and a pack of Great Danes stepped out. These
were not old toothless creatures but strong, ferocious beasts that
charged the crowd. Tough won the day - but discontent was strong.
Even my guide Linda started to have her doubts as she saw her
friends disappearing into the meat trucks.
Max the Fox,
meanwhile, went to Mr Johnson Senior and came back with a contract:
‘Animal Farm will belong to Mr Johnson and will be called Johnson's
New Farm. Mr Johnson will provide the animals with hay. It is only
natural that he will be free to take some animals to his facilities.
Mr Tough will remain Executive Manager’.
was signed and that is how the troublesome history of Animal Farm
came to its end. The new Human masters were forced to send quite a
number of Animals to slaughterhouses. Nobody needed so many hay
his Ranch even more efficient, closed a few outlying corrals and
turned every literate Pig into chops. Foxes were sent to furriers
and Johnson's TV closed down as it now created inappropriate
expectations among the Animals. Thoroughly disgusted I left the
blighted place. On board the train I met Max the Fox and Tough the
Hog; they were on their way to Florida.