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Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals. It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called, though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty) was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour's sleep in order to hear what he had to say.

At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the other animals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their different fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselves on the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel, the white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark--for instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at. Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking.

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major's speech without listening to a word of what he was saying.

All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that they had all made themselves comfortable and were waiting attentively, he cleared his throat and began:

"Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last night. But I will come to the dream later. I have something else to say first. I do not think, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months longer, and before I die, I feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired. I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.

"Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.

"But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because this land of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell upon it? No, comrades, a thousand times no! The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it is capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit it. This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep--and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word--Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year? And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men. And you, Clover, where are those four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your old age? Each was sold at a year old--you will never see one of them again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?

"And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must come--cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond.

"Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.

"And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."

At this moment there was a tremendous uproar. While Major was speaking four large rats had crept out of their holes and were sitting on their hindquarters, listening to him. The dogs had suddenly caught sight of them, and it was only by a swift dash for their holes that the rats saved their lives. Major raised his trotter for silence.

"Comrades," he said, "here is a point that must be settled. The wild creatures, such as rats and rabbits -- are they our friends or our enemies? Let us put it to the vote. I propose this question to the meeting: Are rats comrades?"

The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades. There were only four dissentients, the three dogs and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides. Major continued:

"I have little more to say. I merely repeat, remember always your duty of enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.

"And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man has vanished. But it reminded me of something that I had long forgotten. Many years ago, when I was a little pig, my mother and the other sows used to sing an old song of which they knew only the tune and the first three words. I had known that tune in my infancy, but it had long since passed out of my mind. Last night, however, it came back to me in my dream. And what is more, the words of the song also came back-words, I am certain, which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades. I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you can sing it better for yourselves. It is called 'Beasts of England'."

Old Major cleared his throat and began to sing. As he had said, his voice was hoarse, but he sang well enough, and it was a stirring tune, something between 'Clementine' and 'La Cucaracha'. The words ran:

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken to my joyful tidings

Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,

Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown,

And the fruitful fields of England

Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,

And the harness from our back,

Bit and spur shall rust forever,

Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,

Wheat and barley, oats and hay,

Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels

Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,

Purer shall its waters be,

Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes

On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,

Though we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,

All must toil for freedom's sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken well and spread my tidings

Of the golden future time.

The singing of this song threw the animals into the wildest excitement. Almost before Major had reached the end, they had begun singing it for themselves. Even the stupidest of them had already picked up the tune and a few of the words, and as for the clever ones, such as the pigs and dogs, they had the entire song by heart within a few minutes. And then, after a few preliminary tries, the whole farm burst out into 'Beasts of England' in tremendous unison. The cows lowed it, the dogs whined it, the sheep bleated it, the horses whinnied it, the ducks quacked it. They were so delighted with the song that they sang it right through five times in succession, and might have continued singing it all night if they had not been interrupted.

Unfortunately, the uproar awoke Mr. Jones, who sprang out of bed, making sure that there was a fox in the yard. He seized the gun which always stood in a corner of his bedroom, and let fly a charge of number 6 shot into the darkness. The pellets buried themselves in the wall of the barn and the meeting broke up hurriedly. Everyone fled to his own sleeping-place. The birds jumped on to their perches, the animals settled down in the straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment.

 

故事发生在曼纳庄园里。这天晚上,庄园的主人琼斯先生说是已经锁好了鸡棚,但由于他喝得醉意十足,竟把里面的那些小门都忘了关上。他提着马灯踉踉跄跄地穿过院子,马灯光也跟着一直不停地晃来晃去,到了后门,他把靴子一脚一只踢了出去,又从洗碗间的酒桶里舀起最后一杯啤酒,一饮而尽,然后才上床休息。此时,床上的琼斯夫人已是鼾声如雷了。

等那边庄主院卧室里的灯光一熄灭,整个庄园窝棚里就泛起一阵扑扑腾腾的骚动。还在白天的时候,庄园里就风传着一件事,说是老麦哲,就是得过“中等白鬃毛”奖的那头雄猪,在前一天晚上作了一个奇怪的梦,想要传达给其他动物。老麦哲(他一直被这样称呼,尽管他在参加展览时用的名字是“威灵顿美神”)在庄园了一直德高望重,所以动物们为了聆听他想要讲的事情,都十分乐意牺牲一小时的睡眠。当时,大家都已经同意,等琼斯先生完全走开后,他们就到大谷仓内集合。

在大谷仓一头一个凸起的台子上,麦哲已经安稳地坐在草垫子上了,在他头顶上方的房梁上悬挂着一盏马灯。他已经十二岁了,近来长得有些发胖,但他依然仪表堂堂。尽管事实上他的犬牙从来没有割剪过,这也并不妨碍他面带着智慧和慈祥。不一会,动物们开始陆续赶来,并按各自不同的方式坐稳了。最先到来的是三条狗,布鲁拜尔、杰西和平彻,猪随后走进来,并立即坐在台子前面的稻草上。鸡栖在窗台上,鸽子扑腾上了房梁,羊和牛躺在猪身后并开始倒嚼起来。两匹套四轮货车的马,鲍克瑟和克拉弗,一块赶来,他们走进时走得很慢,每当他们在落下那巨大的毛乎乎的蹄子时,总是小心翼翼,生怕草堆里藏着什么小动物。克拉弗是一匹粗壮而慈爱的母马,接近中年。她在生了第四个小驹之后,体形再也没有能恢复原样。鲍克瑟身材高大,有近两米高的个头,强壮得赛过两匹普通马相加,不过,他脸上长了一道直到鼻子的白毛,多少显得有些戆相。实际上,他确实不怎么聪明,但他坚韧不拔的个性和干活时那股十足的劲头,使他赢得了普遍的尊敬。跟着马后面到的是白山羊穆丽尔,还有那头驴,本杰明。本杰明是庄园里年龄最老的动物,脾气也最糟,他沉默寡言,不开口则已,一开口就少不了说一些风凉话。譬如,他会说上帝给了他尾巴是为了驱赶苍蝇,但他却宁愿没有尾巴也没有苍蝇。庄园里的动物中,唯有他从来没有笑过,要问为什么,他会说他没有看见什么值得好笑的。然而他对鲍克瑟却是真诚相待,只不过没有公开承认罢了。通常,他俩总是一起在果园那边的小牧场上消磨星期天,肩并着肩,默默地吃草。

这两匹马刚躺下,一群失去了妈妈的小鸭子排成一溜进了大谷仓,吱吱喳喳,东张西望,想找一处不会被踩上的地方。克拉弗用她粗壮的前腿象墙一样地围住他们,小鸭子偎依在里面,很快就入睡了。莫丽来得很晚,这个愚蠢的家伙,长着一身白生生的毛,是一匹套琼斯先生座车的母马。她扭扭捏捏地走进来,一颠一颠地,嘴里还嚼着一块糖。她占了个靠前的位置,就开始抖动起她的白鬃毛,试图炫耀一番那些扎在鬃毛上的红饰带。猫是最后一个来的,她象往常一样,到处寻找最热乎的地方,最后在鲍克瑟和克拉弗当中挤了进去。在麦哲讲演时,她在那儿自始至终都得意地发出“咕咕噜噜”的声音,压根儿没听进麦哲讲的一个字。

那只驯顺了的乌鸦摩西睡在庄主院后门背后的架子上,除他之外,所有的动物都已到场,看到他们都坐稳了,并聚精会神地等待着,麦哲清了清喉咙,开口说道:

“同志们,我昨晚做了一个奇怪的梦,这个你们都已经听说了,但我想等一会再提它。我想先说点别的事。同志们,我想我和你们在一起呆不了多久了。在我临死之前,我觉得有责任把我已经获得的智慧传授给你们。我活了一辈子,当我独自躺在圈中时,我总在思索,我想我敢说,如同任何一个健在的动物一样,我悟出了一个道理,那就是活在世上是怎么回事。这就是我要给你们讲的问题。

“那么,同志们,我们又是怎么生活的呢?让我们来看一看吧:我们的一生是短暂的,却是凄惨而艰辛。一生下来,我们得到的食物不过仅仅使我们苟延残喘而已,但是,只要我们还能动一下,我们便会被驱赶着去干活,直到用尽最后一丝力气,一旦我们的油水被榨干,我们就会在难以置信的残忍下被宰杀。在英格兰的动物中,没有一个动物在一岁之后懂得什么是幸福或空闲的涵意。没有一个是自由的。显而易见,动物的一生是痛苦的、备受奴役的一生。

“但是,这真的是命中注定的吗?那些生长在这里的动物之所以不能过上舒适的生活,难道是因为我们这块土地太贫瘠了吗?不!同志们!一千个不!英格兰土地肥沃,气候适宜,它可以提供丰富的食物,可以养活为数比现在多得多的动物。拿我们这一个庄园来说,就足以养活十二匹马、二十头牛和数百只羊,而且我们甚至无法想象,他们会过得多么舒适,活得多么体面。那么,为什么我们的悲惨境况没有得到改变呢?这是因为,几乎我们的全部劳动所得都被人类窃取走了。同志们,有一个答案可以解答我们的所以问题,我可以把它总结为一个字——人,人就是我们唯一真正的仇敌。把人从我们的生活中消除掉,饥饿与过度劳累的根子就会永远拔掉。

“人是一种最可怜的家伙,什么都产不了,只会挥霍。那些家伙产不了奶,也下不了蛋,瘦弱得拉不动犁,跑起来也是慢吞吞的,连个兔子都逮不住。可那家伙却是所有动物的主宰,他驱使他们去干活,给他们报偿却只是一点少得不能再少的草料,仅够他们糊口而已。而他们劳动所得的其余的一切则都被他据为己有。是我们流血流汗在耕耘这块土地,是我们的粪便使它肥沃,可我们自己除了这一副空皮囊之外,又得到了什么呢!你们这些坐在我面前的牛,去年一年里,你们已产过多少加仑的奶呢!那些本来可以喂养出许多强壮的牛犊的奶又到哪儿去了呢?每一滴都流进了我们仇敌的喉咙里。还有你们这些鸡、这一年里你们已下了多少只蛋呢?可又有多少孵成了小鸡?那些没有孵化的鸡蛋都被拿到市场上为琼斯和他的伙计们换成了钞票!你呢,克拉弗,你的四匹小马驹到哪儿去了?他们本来是你晚年的安慰和寄托!而他们却都在一岁时给卖掉了,你永远也无法再见到他们了。补偿给你这四次坐月子和在地里劳作的,除了那点可怜的饲料和一间马厩外,还有什么呢?

“就是过着这样悲惨的生活,我们也不能被允许享尽天年。拿我自己来说,我无可抱怨,因为我算是幸运的。我十二岁了,已有四百多个孩子,这对一个猪来说就是应有的生活了。但是,到头来没有一个动物能逃过那残忍的一刀。你们这些坐在我面前的小肉猪们,不出一年,你们都将在刀架上嚎叫着断送性命。这恐怖就是我们——牛、猪、鸡、羊等等每一位都难逃的结局。就是马和狗的命运也好不了多少。你,鲍克瑟,有朝一日你那强健的肌肉失去了力气,琼斯就会把你卖给屠马商,屠马商会割断你的喉咙,把你煮了给猎狗吃。而狗呢,等他们老了,牙也掉光了,琼斯就会就近找个池塘,弄块砖头拴再他们的脖子上,把他们沉到水底。

“那么,同志们,我们这种生活的祸根来自暴虐的人类,这一点难道不是一清二楚的吗?只要驱除了人,我们的劳动所得就会全归我们自己,而且几乎在一夜之间,我们就会变得富裕而自由。那么我们应该为此做些什么呢?毫无疑问,奋斗!为了消除人类,全力以赴,不分昼夜地奋斗!同志们,我要告诉你们的就是这个:造反!老实说,我也不知道造反会在何时发生,或许近在一周之内,或许远在百年之后。但我确信,就象看到我蹄子底下的稻草一样确凿无疑,总有一天,正义要申张。同志们,在你们整个短暂的余生中,不要偏离这个目标!尤其是,把我说的福音传给你们的后代,这样,未来的一代一代动物就会继续这一斗争,直到取得最后胜利。

“记住,同志们,你们的誓愿决不可动摇,你们决不要让任何甜言蜜语把你们引入歧途。当他们告诉你们什么人与动物有着共同利益,什么一方的兴衰就是另一方的兴衰,千万不要听信那种话,那全是彻头彻尾的谎言。人心里想的事情只有他自己的利益,此外别无他有。让我们在斗争中协调一致,情同手足。所以的人都是仇敌,所有的动物都是同志”。

就在这时刻,响起了一阵刺耳的嘈杂声。原来,在麦哲讲话时,有四只个头挺大的耗子爬出洞口,蹲坐在后腿上听他演讲,突然间被狗瞧见,幸亏他们迅速窜回洞内,才免遭一死。麦哲抬起前蹄,平静了一下气氛:

“同志们”,他说,“这里有一点必须澄清。野生的生灵,比如耗子和兔子,是我们的亲友呢还是仇敌?让我们表决一下吧,我向会议提出这个议题:耗子是同志吗?”

表决立即进行,压倒多数的动物同意耗子是同志。有四个投了反对票,是三条狗和一只猫。后来才发现他们其实投了两次票,包括反对票和赞成票。麦哲继续说道:

“我还有一点要补充。我只是重申一下,永远记住你们的责任是与人类及其习惯势不两立。所有靠两条腿行走的都是仇敌,所有靠四肢行走的,或者有翅膀的,都是亲友。还有记住:在同人类作斗争的过程中,我们就不要模仿他们。即使征服了他们,也决不沿用他们的恶习。是动物就决不住在房屋里,决不睡在床上,决不穿衣、喝酒、抽烟,决不接触钞票,从事交易。凡是人的习惯都是邪恶的。而且,千万要注意,任何动物都不能欺压自己的同类。不论是瘦弱的还是强壮的;不论是聪明的还是迟钝的,我们都是兄弟。任何动物都不得伤害其他动物。所有的动物一律平等。

“现在,同志们,我来谈谈关于昨晚那个梦的事。那是一个在消灭了人类之后的未来世界的梦想,我无法把它描述出来。但它提醒了我一些早已忘却的事情。很多年以前,当我还是头小猪时,我母亲和其他母猪经常唱一只古老的歌,那支歌,连她们也只记得个曲调和头三句歌词。我很小的时候就对那曲调熟悉了。但我也忘了很久了。然而昨天晚上,我又在梦中回想起来了,更妙的是,歌词也在梦中出现,这歌词,我敢肯定,就是很久以前的动物唱的、并且失传很多代的那首歌词。现在我就想唱给你们听听,同志们,我老了,嗓音也沙哑了,但等我把你们教会了,你们会唱得更好的。他叫‘英格兰兽’。”

老麦哲清了清嗓子就开始唱了起来,正如他说的那样,他声音沙哑,但唱得很不错。那首歌曲调慷慨激昂,旋律有点介于“Clementine”和“La Cucuracha”之间。歌词是这样的:

英格兰兽,爱尔兰兽,

普天之下的兽,

倾听我喜悦的佳音,

倾听那金色的未来。

那一天迟早要到来,

暴虐的人类终将消灭,

富饶的英格兰大地,

将只留下我们的足迹。

我们的鼻中不再扣环,

我们的背上不再配鞍,

蹶子、马刺会永远锈蚀

不再有残酷的鞭子噼啪抽闪。

那难以想象的富裕生活,

小麦、大麦、干草、燕麦

苜宿、大豆还有甜菜,

那一天将全归我侪。

那一天我们将自由解放,

阳光普照英格兰大地,

水会更纯净,

风也更柔逸。

哪怕我们活不到那一天,

但为了那一天我们岂能等闲,

牛、马、鹅、鸡

为自由务须流血汗。

英格兰兽、爱尔兰兽,

普天之下的兽,

倾听我喜悦的佳音,

倾听那金色的未来。

唱着这支歌,动物们陷入了情不自禁的亢奋之中。几乎还没有等麦哲唱完,他们已经开始自己唱了。连最迟钝的动物也已经学会了曲调和个别歌词了。聪明一些的,如猪和狗,几分钟内就全部记住了整首歌。然后,他们稍加几次尝试,就突然间齐声合唱起来,整个庄园顿时回荡着这震天动地的歌声。牛哞哞地叫,狗汪汪地吠,羊咩咩地喊,马嘶嘶地鸣,鸭子嘎嘎地唤。唱着这首歌,他们是多么地兴奋,以至于整整连着唱了五遍,要不是中途被打断,他们真有可能唱个通宵。

不巧,喧嚣声吵醒了琼斯先生,他自以为是院子中来了狐狸,便跳下床,操起那支总是放在卧室墙角的猎枪,用装在膛里的六号子弹对着黑暗处开了一枪,弹粒射进大谷仓的墙里。会议就此匆匆解散。动物们纷纷溜回自己的窝棚。家禽跳上了他们的架子,家畜卧到了草堆里,顷刻之间,庄园便沉寂下来。