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It was a bitter winter. The stormy weather was followed by sleet and snow, and then by a hard frost which did not break till well into February. The animals carried on as best they could with the rebuilding of the windmill, well knowing that the outside world was watching them and that the envious human beings would rejoice and triumph if the mill were not finished on time.

Out of spite, the human beings pretended not to believe that it was Snowball who had destroyer the windmill: they said that it had fallen down because the walls were too thin. The animals knew that this was not the case. Still, it had been decided to build the walls three feet thick this time instead of eighteen inches as before, which meant collecting much larger quantities of stone. For a long time the quarry was full of snowdrifts and nothing could be done. Some progress was made in the dry frosty weather that followed, but it was cruel work, and the animals could not feel so hopeful about it as they had felt before. They were always cold, and usually hungry as well. Only Boxer and Clover never lost heart. Squealer made excellent speeches on the joy of service and the dignity of labour, but the other animals found more inspiration in Boxer's strength and his never-failing cry of "I will work harder!"

In January food fell short. The corn ration was drastically reduced, and it was announced that an extra potato ration would be issued to make up for it. Then it was discovered that the greater part of the potato crop had been frosted in the clamps, which had not been covered thickly enough. The potatoes had become soft and discoloured, and only a few were edible. For days at a time the animals had nothing to eat but chaff and mangels. Starvation seemed to stare them in the face.

It was vitally necessary to conceal this fact from the outside world. Emboldened by the collapse of the windmill, the human beings were inventing fresh lies about Animal Farm. Once again it was being put about that all the animals were dying of famine and disease, and that they were continually fighting among themselves and had resorted to cannibalism and infanticide. Napoleon was well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of Mr. Whymper to spread a contrary impression. Hitherto the animals had had little or no contact with Whymper on his weekly visits: now, however, a few selected animals, mostly sheep, were instructed to remark casually in his hearing that rations had been increased. In addition, Napoleon ordered the almost empty bins in the store-shed to be filled nearly to the brim with sand, which was then covered up with what remained of the grain and meal. On some suitable pretext Whymper was led through the store-shed and allowed to catch a glimpse of the bins. He was deceived, and continued to report to the outside world that there was no food shortage on Animal Farm.

Nevertheless, towards the end of January it became obvious that it would be necessary to procure some more grain from somewhere. In these days Napoleon rarely appeared in public, but spent all his time in the farmhouse, which was guarded at each door by fierce-looking dogs. When he did emerge, it was in a ceremonial manner, with an escort of six dogs who closely surrounded him and growled if anyone came too near. Frequently he did not even appear on Sunday mornings, but issued his orders through one of the other pigs, usually Squealer.

One Sunday morning Squealer announced that the hens, who had just come in to lay again, must surrender their eggs. Napoleon had accepted, through Whymper, a contract for four hundred eggs a week. The price of these would pay for enough grain and meal to keep the farm going till summer came on and conditions were easier.

When the hens heard this, they raised a terrible outcry. They had been warned earlier that this sacrifice might be necessary, but had not believed that it would really happen. They were just getting their clutches ready for the spring sitting, and they protested that to take the eggs away now was murder. For the first time since the expulsion of Jones, there was something resembling a rebellion. Led by three young Black Minorca pullets, the hens made a determined effort to thwart Napoleon's wishes. Their method was to fly up to the rafters and there lay their eggs, which smashed to pieces on the floor. Napoleon acted swiftly and ruthlessly. He ordered the hens' rations to be stopped, and decreed that any animal giving so much as a grain of corn to a hen should be punished by death. The dogs saw to it that these orders were carried out. For five days the hens held out, then they capitulated and went back to their nesting boxes. Nine hens had died in the meantime. Their bodies were buried in the orchard, and it was given out that they had died of coccidiosis. Whymper heard nothing of this affair, and the eggs were duly delivered, a grocer's van driving up to the farm once a week to take them away.

All this while no more had been seen of Snowball. He was rumoured to be hiding on one of the neighbouring farms, either Foxwood or Pinchfield. Napoleon was by this time on slightly better terms with the other farmers than before. It happened that there was in the yard a pile of timber which had been stacked there ten years earlier when a beech spinney was cleared. It was well seasoned, and Whymper had advised Napoleon to sell it; both Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Frederick were anxious to buy it. Napoleon was hesitating between the two, unable to make up his mind. It was noticed that whenever he seemed on the point of coming to an agreement with Frederick, Snowball was declared to be in hiding at Foxwood, while, when he inclined toward Pilkington, Snowball was said to be at Pinchfield.

Suddenly, early in the spring, an alarming thing was discovered. Snowball was secretly frequenting the farm by night! The animals were so disturbed that they could hardly sleep in their stalls. Every night, it was said, he came creeping in under cover of darkness and performed all kinds of mischief. He stole the corn, he upset the milk-pails, he broke the eggs, he trampled the seedbeds, he gnawed the bark off the fruit trees. Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball. If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the store-shed was lost, the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiously enough, they went on believing this even after the mislaid key was found under a sack of meal. The cows declared unanimously that Snowball crept into their stalls and milked them in their sleep. The rats, which had been troublesome that winter, were also said to be in league with Snowball.

Napoleon decreed that there should be a full investigation into Snowball's activities. With his dogs in attendance he set out and made a careful tour of inspection of the farm buildings, the other animals following at a respectful distance. At every few steps Napoleon stopped and snuffed the ground for traces of Snowball's footsteps, which, he said, he could detect by the smell. He snuffed in every corner, in the barn, in the cow-shed, in the henhouses, in the vegetable garden, and found traces of Snowball almost everywhere. He would put his snout to the ground, give several deep sniffs, ad exclaim in a terrible voice, "Snowball! He has been here! I can smell him distinctly!" and at the word "Snowball" all the dogs let out blood-curdling growls and showed their side teeth.

The animals were thoroughly frightened. It seemed to them as though Snowball were some kind of invisible influence, pervading the air about them and menacing them with all kinds of dangers. In the evening Squealer called them together, and with an alarmed expression on his face told them that he had some serious news to report.

"Comrades!" cried Squealer, making little nervous skips, "a most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold himself to Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting to attack us and take our farm away from us! Snowball is to act as his guide when the attack begins. But there is worse than that. We had thought that Snowball's rebellion was caused simply by his vanity and ambition. But we were wrong, comrades. Do you know what the real reason was? Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start! He was Jones's secret agent all the time. It has all been proved by documents which he left behind him and which we have only just discovered. To my mind this explains a great deal, comrades. Did we not see for ourselves how he attempted--fortunately without success--to get us defeated and destroyed at the Battle of the Cowshed?"

The animals were stupefied. This was a wickedness far outdoing Snowball's destruction of the windmill. But it was some minutes before they could fully take it in. They all remembered, or thought they remembered, how they had seen Snowball charging ahead of them at the Battle of the Cowshed, how he had rallied and encouraged them at every turn, and how he had not paused for an instant even when the pellets from Jones's gun had wounded his back. At first it was a little difficult to see how this fitted in with his being on Jones's side. Even Boxer, who seldom asked questions, was puzzled. He lay down, tucked his fore hoofs beneath him, shut his eyes, and with a hard effort managed to formulate his thoughts.

"I do not believe that," he said. "Snowball fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed. I saw him myself. Did we not give him 'Animal Hero, first Class,' immediately afterwards?"

"That was our mistake, comrade. For we know now--it is all written down in the secret documents that we have found--that in reality he was trying to lure us to our doom."

"But he was wounded," said Boxer. "We all saw him running with blood."

"That was part of the arrangement!" cried Squealer. "Jones's shot only grazed him. I could show you this in his own writing, if you were able to read it. The plot was for Snowball, at the critical moment, to give the signal for flight and leave the field to the enemy. And he very nearly succeeded -- I will even say, comrades, he WOULD have succeeded if it had not been for our heroic Leader, Comrade Napoleon. Do you not remember how, just at the moment when Jones and his men had got inside the yard, Snowball suddenly turned and fled, and many animals followed him? And do you not remember, too, that it was just at that moment, when panic was spreading and all seemed lost, that Comrade Napoleon sprang forward with a cry of 'Death to Humanity!' and sank his teeth in Jones's leg? Surely you remember THAT, comrades?" exclaimed Squealer, frisking from side to side.

Now when Squealer described the scene so graphically, it seemed to the animals that they did remember it. At any rate, they remembered that at the critical moment of the battle Snowball had turned to flee. But Boxer was still a little uneasy.

"I do not believe that Snowball was a traitor at the beginning," he said finally. "What he has done since is different. But I believe that at the Battle of the Cowshed he was a good comrade."

"Our Leader, Comrade Napoleon," announced Squealer, speaking very slowly and firmly, "has stated categorically--categorically, comrade--that Snowball was Jones's agent from the very beginning--yes, and from long before the Rebellion was ever thought of."

"Ah, that is different!" said Boxer. "If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."

"That is the true spirit, comrade!" cried Squealer, but it was noticed he cast a very ugly look at Boxer with his little twinkling eyes. He turned to go, then paused and added impressively: "I warn every animal on this farm to keep his eyes very wide open. For we have reason to think that some of Snowball's secret agents are lurking among us at this moment!"

Four days later, in the late afternoon, Napoleon ordered all the animals to assemble in the yard. When they were all gathered together, Napoleon emerged from the farmhouse, wearing both his medals (for he had recently awarded himself "Animal Hero, First Class", and "Animal Hero, Second Class"), with his nine huge dogs frisking round him and uttering growls that sent shivers down all the animals' spines. They all cowered silently in their places, seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was about to happen.

Napoleon stood sternly surveying his audience; then he uttered a high-pitched whimper. Immediately the dogs bounded forward, seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing with pain and terror, to Napoleon's feet. The pigs' ears were bleeding, the dogs had tasted blood, and for a few moments they appeared to go quite mad. To the amazement of everybody, three of them flung themselves upon Boxer. Boxer saw them coming and put out his great hoof, caught a dog in mid-air, and pinned him to the ground. The dog shrieked for mercy and the other two fled with their tails between their legs. Boxer looked at Napoleon to know whether he should crush the dog to death or let it go. Napoleon appeared to change countenance, and sharply ordered Boxer to let the dog go, whereat Boxer lifted his hoof, and the dog slunk away, bruised and howling.

Presently the tumult died down. The four pigs waited, trembling, with guilt written on every line of their countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their crimes. They were the same four pigs as had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings. Without any further prompting they confessed that they had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since his expulsion, that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill, and that they had entered into an agreement with him to hand over Animal Farm to Mr. Frederick. They added that Snowball had privately admitted to them that he had been Jones's secret agent for years past. When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess.

The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs now came forward and stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon's orders. They, too, were slaughtered. Then a goose came forward and confessed to having secreted six ears of corn during the last year's harvest and eaten them in the night. Then a sheep confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool--urged to do this, so she said, by Snowball--and two other sheep confessed to having murdered an old ram, an especially devoted follower of Napoleon, by chasing him round and round a bonfire when he was suffering from a cough. They were all slain on the spot. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon's feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones.

When it was all over, the remaining animals, except for the pigs and dogs, crept away in a body. They were shaken and miserable. They did not know which was more shocking--the treachery of the animals who had leagued themselves with Snowball, or the cruel retribution they had just witnessed. In the old days there had often been scenes of bloodshed equally terrible, but it seemed to all of them that it was far worse now that it was happening among themselves. Since Jones had left the farm, until today, no animal had killed another animal. Not even a rat had been killed. They had made their way on to the little knoll where the half-finished windmill stood, and with one accord they all lay down as though huddling together for warmth--Clover, Muriel, Benjamin, the cows, the sheep, and a whole flock of geese and hens--everyone, indeed, except the cat, who had suddenly disappeared just before Napoleon ordered the animals to assemble. For some time nobody spoke. Only Boxer remained on his feet. He fidgeted to and fro, swishing his long black tail against his sides and occasionally uttering a little whinny of surprise. Finally he said:

"I do not understand it. I would not have believed that such things could happen on our farm. It must be due to some fault in ourselves. The solution, as I see it, is to work harder. From now onwards I shall get up a full hour earlier in the mornings."

And he moved off at his lumbering trot and made for the quarry. Having got there, he collected two successive loads of stone and dragged them down to the windmill before retiring for the night.

The animals huddled about Clover, not speaking. The knoll where they were lying gave them a wide prospect across the countryside. Most of Animal Farm was within their view--the long pasture stretching down to the main road, the hayfield, the spinney, the drinking pool, the ploughed fields

where the young wheat was thick and green, and the red roofs of the farm buildings with the smoke curling from the chimneys. It was a clear spring evening. The grass and the bursting hedges were gilded by the level rays of the sun. Never had the farm--and with a kind of surprise they remembered that it was their own farm, every inch of it their own property--appeared to the animals so desirable a place. As Clover looked down the hillside her eyes filled with tears. If she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race. These scenes of terror and slaughter were not what they had looked forward to on that night when old Major first stirred them to rebellion. If she herself had had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak, as she had protected the lost brood of ducklings with her foreleg on the night of Major's speech. Instead--she did not know why--they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes. There was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her mind. She knew that, even as things were, they were far better off than they had been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it was needful to prevent the return of the human beings. Whatever happened she would remain faithful, work hard, carry out the orders that were given to her, and accept the leadership of Napoleon. But still, it was not for this that she and all the other animals had hoped and toiled. It was not for this that they had built the windmill and faced the bullets of Jones's gun. Such were her thoughts, though she lacked the words to express them.

At last, feeling this to be in some way a substitute for the words she was unable to find, she began to sing 'Beasts of England'. The other animals sitting round her took it up, and they sang it three times over--very tunefully, but slowly and mournfully, in a way they had never sung it before.

They had just finished singing it for the third time when Squealer, attended by two dogs, approached them with the air of having something important to say. He announced that, by a special decree of Comrade Napoleon, 'Beasts of England' had been abolished. From now onwards it was forbidden to sing it.

The animals were taken aback.

"Why?" cried Muriel.

"It's no longer needed, comrade," said Squealer stiffly. "'Beasts of England' was the song of the Rebellion. But the Rebellion is now completed. The execution of the traitors this afternoon was the final act. The enemy both external and internal has been defeated. In 'Beasts of England' we expressed our longing for a better society in days to come. But that society has now been established. Clearly this song has no longer any purpose."

Frightened though they were, some of the animals might possibly have protested, but at this moment the sheep set up their usual bleating of "Four legs good, two legs bad," which went on for several minutes and put an end to the discussion.

So 'Beasts of England' was heard no more. In its place Minimus, the poet, had composed another song which began:

Animal Farm, Animal Farm,

Never through me shalt thou come to harm!

And this was sung every Sunday morning after the hoisting of the flag. But somehow neither the words nor the tune ever seemed to the animals to come up to 'Beasts of England'.

那是一个寒冷的冬天。狂风暴雨的天气刚刚过去,这又下起了雨夹雪,接着又是大雪纷飞。然后,严寒来了,冰天冻地一般,直到二月才见和缓。动物们都在全力以赴地赶建风车,因为他们都十分清楚:外界正在注视着他们,如果风车不能重新及时建成,那些妒火中烧的人类便会为此幸灾乐祸的。

那些人不怀好意,佯称他们不相信风车会是斯诺鲍毁坏的。他们说,风车之所以倒塌纯粹是因为墙座太薄。而动物们认为事实并非如此。不过,他们还是决定这一次要把墙筑到三呎厚,而不是上一次的一呎半。这就意味着得采集更多的石头。但采石场上好长时间积雪成堆,什么事也干不成。后来,严冬的天气变得干燥了,倒是干了一些活,但那却是一项苦不堪言的劳作,动物们再也不象先前那样满怀希望、信心十足。它们总感到冷,又常常觉得饿。只有鲍克瑟和克拉弗从不气馁。斯奎拉则时不时来一段关于什么劳动的乐趣以及劳工神圣之类的精彩演讲,但使其他动物受到鼓舞更大的,却来自鲍克瑟的踏实肯干和他总是挂在嘴边的口头禅:“我要更加努力工作。”

一月份,食物就开始短缺了。谷类饲料急骤减少,有通知说要发给额外的土豆来弥补。可随后却发现由于地窖上面盖得不够厚,绝大部分土豆都已受冻而发软变坏了,只有很少一些还可以吃。这段时间里,动物们已有好些天除了吃谷糠和萝卜外,再也没有别的可吃的了,他们差不多面临着饥荒。

对外遮掩这一实情是非常必要的。风车的倒塌已经给人壮了胆,他们因而就捏造出有关动物庄园的新奇的谎言。这一次,外面又谣传说他们这里所有的动物都在饥荒和瘟疫中垂死挣扎,而且说他们内部不断自相残杀,已经到了以同类相食和吞食幼崽度日的地步。拿破仑清醒地意识倒饲料短缺的真相被外界知道后的严重后果,因而决意利用温普尔先生散布一些相反的言论。本来,到目前为止,对温普尔的每周一次来访,动物们还几乎与他没有什么接触。可是这一次,他们却挑选了一些动物,大都是羊,要他们在温普尔能听得到的地方,装作是在无意的聊天中谈有关饲料粮增加的事。这还不够,拿破仑又让储藏棚里那些几乎已是完全空空如也的大箱子满沙子,然后把剩下的饲料粮盖在上面。最后找个适当的借口,把温普尔领到储藏棚,让他瞥上一眼。温普尔被蒙骗过去了,就不断在外界报告说,动物庄园根本不缺饲料云云。

然而快到一月底的时候,问题就变得突出了,其关键就是,必须得从某个地方弄到些额外的粮食。而这些天来,拿破仑轻易不露面,整天就呆在庄主院里,那儿的每道门都由气势汹汹的狗把守着。一旦他要出来,也必是一本正经,而且,还有六条狗前呼后拥着,不管谁要走近,那些狗都会吼叫起来。甚至在星期天早晨,他也常常不露面,而由其他一头猪,一般是斯奎拉来发布他的指示。

一个星期天早晨,斯奎拉宣布说,所有重新开始下蛋的鸡,必须把鸡蛋上交。因为通过温普尔牵线,拿破仑已经承诺了一项每周支付四百只鸡蛋的合同。这些鸡蛋所赚的钱可买回很多饲粮,庄园也就可以坚持到夏季,那时,情况就好转了。

鸡一听到这些,便提出了强烈的抗议。虽然在此之前就已经有过预先通知,说这种牺牲恐怕是必不可少的,但他们并不相信真会发生这种事。此时,他们刚把春季孵小鸡用的蛋准备好,因而便抗议说,现在拿走鸡蛋就是谋财害命。于是,为了搅乱拿破仑的计划,他们在三只年轻的黑米诺卡鸡的带动下,索性豁出去了。他们的做法是飞到椽子上下蛋,鸡蛋落到地上便打得粉碎。这是自琼斯被逐以后第一次带有反叛味的行为。对此,拿破仑立即采取严厉措施。他指示停止给鸡供应饲料,同时下令,任何动物,不论是谁,哪怕给鸡一粒粮食都要被处以死刑。这些命令由狗来负责执行。坚持了五天的鸡最后投降了,又回到了鸡窝里。在这期间共有九只鸡死去,遗体都埋到了果园里,对外则说他们是死于鸡瘟。对于此事,温普尔一点也不知道,鸡蛋按时交付,每周都由一辆食品车来庄园拉一次。

这段时间里,一直都没有再见到斯诺鲍。有谣传说他躲在附近的庄园里,不是在福克斯伍德庄园就是在平彻菲尔德庄园。此时,拿破仑和其他庄园的关系也比以前稍微改善了些。碰巧,在庄园的场院里,有一堆十年前在清理一片榉树林时堆在那儿的木材,至今已经很合用了。于是温普尔就建议拿破仑把它卖掉。皮尔金顿先生和弗雷德里克先生都十分想买。可拿破仑还在犹豫,拿不准卖给谁好。大家注意到,每当他似乎要和弗雷德里克先生达成协议的时候,就有谣传说斯诺鲍正躲在福克斯伍德庄园;而当他打算倾向于皮尔金顿时,就又有谣传说斯诺鲍是在平彻菲尔德庄园。

初春时节,突然间有一件事震惊了庄园。说是斯诺鲍常在夜间秘密地潜入庄园!动物们吓坏了,躲在窝棚里夜不能寐。据说,每天晚上他都在夜幕的掩护下潜入庄园,无恶不作。他偷走谷子,弄翻牛奶桶,打碎鸡蛋,践踏苗圃,咬掉果树皮。不论什么时候什么事情搞糟了,通常都要推到斯诺鲍身上,要是一扇窗子坏了或者水道堵塞了,准有某个动物断定这是斯诺鲍在夜间干的。储藏棚的钥匙丢了,所有动物都坚信是斯诺鲍给扔到井里去了。奇怪的是,甚至在发现钥匙原来是被误放在一袋面粉底下之后,他们还是这样坚信不移。牛异口同声地声称斯诺鲍在她们睡觉时溜进牛棚,吸了她们的奶。那些在冬天曾给她们带来烦恼的老鼠,也被指责为斯诺鲍的同伙。

拿破仑下令对斯诺鲍的活动进行一次全面调查。他在狗的护卫下,开始对庄园的窝棚进行一次仔细的巡回检查,其他动物谦恭地在几步之外尾随着。每走几步,拿破仑就停下来,嗅一嗅地面上是否有斯诺鲍的气味。他说他能借此分辨出斯诺鲍的蹄印。他嗅遍了每一个角落,从大谷仓、牛棚到鸡窝和苹果园,几乎到处都发现了斯诺鲍的踪迹。每到一处他就把嘴伸到地上,深深地吸上几下,便以惊异的语气大叫到:“斯诺鲍!他到过这儿!我能清楚地嗅出来!”一听到“斯诺鲍”,所有的狗都呲牙咧嘴,发出一阵令动物们胆颤心惊的咆哮。

动物们被彻底吓坏了。对他们来说,斯诺鲍就象某种看不见的恶魔,浸透在他们周围的空间,以各种危险威胁着他们。到了晚上,斯奎拉把他们召集起来,带着一幅惶恐不安的神情说,他有要事相告。

“同志们!”斯奎拉边神经质地蹦跳着边大叫道,“发现了一件最为可怕的事,斯诺鲍已经投靠了平彻菲尔德庄园的弗雷德里克了。而那家伙正在策划着袭击我们,企图独占我们的庄园!斯诺鲍将在袭击中给他带路。更糟糕的是,我们曾以为,斯诺鲍的造反是出自于自命不凡和野心勃勃。可我们搞错了,同志们,你们知道真正的动机是什么吗?斯诺鲍从一开始就和琼斯是一伙的!他自始至终都是琼斯的密探。我们刚刚发现了一些他丢下的文件,这一点在那些文件中完全得到了证实。同志们,依我看,这就能说明不少问题了。在牛棚大战中,虽然幸亏他的阴谋没有得逞,但他想使我们遭到毁灭的企图,难道不是我们有目共睹的吗?”

大家都怔住了。比起斯诺鲍毁坏风车一事,这一罪孽要严重得多了。但是,他们在完全接受这一点之前,却犹豫了好几分钟,他们都记得,或者自以为还记得,在牛棚大战中,他们曾看到的是斯诺鲍在带头冲锋陷阵,并不时的重整旗鼓,而且,即使在琼斯的子弹已射进它的脊背时也毫不退缩。对此,他们首先就感到困惑不解,这怎么能说明他是站在琼斯一边的呢?就连很少质疑的鲍克瑟也或然不解。他卧在地上,前腿弯在身子底下,眼睛紧闭着,绞尽脑汁想理顺他的思路。

“我不信,”他说道,“斯诺鲍在牛棚大战中作战勇敢,这是我亲眼看到的。战斗一结束,我们不是就立刻授予他‘一级动物英雄’勋章了吗?”

“那是我们的失误,同志们,因为我们现在才知道,他实际上是想诱使我们走向灭亡。在我们已经发现的秘密文件中,这一点写得清清楚楚。”

“但是他负伤了,”鲍克瑟说,“我们都看见他在流着血冲锋。”

“那也是预谋中的一部分!”斯奎拉叫道,“琼斯的子弹只不过擦了一下他的皮而已。要是你能识字的话,我会把他自己写的文件拿给你看的。他们的阴谋,就是在关键时刻发出一个信号,让斯诺鲍逃跑并把庄园留给敌人。他差不多就要成功了,我甚至敢说,要是没有我们英勇的领袖拿破仑同志,他早就得逞了。难道你们不记得了,就在琼斯一伙冲进院子的时候,斯诺鲍突然转身就逃,于是很多动物都跟着他跑了吗?还有,就在那一会儿,都乱套了,几乎都要完了,拿破仑同志突然冲上前去,大喊:‘消灭人类!’同时咬住了琼斯的腿,这一点难道你们不记得了吗?你们肯定记得这些吧?”斯奎拉一边左右蹦跳,一边大声叫着。

既然斯奎拉把那一场景描述得如此形象生动,动物们便似乎觉得,他们果真记得有这么回事。不管怎么说,他们记得在激战的关键时刻,斯诺鲍曾经掉头逃过。但是鲍克瑟还有一些感到不自在。

他终于说道:“我不相信斯诺鲍一开始就是一个叛徒。他后来的所作所为是另一回事,但我认为在牛棚大战中,他是一个好同志。”

“我们的领袖,拿破仑同志,”斯奎拉以缓慢而坚定的语气宣告,“已经明确地——明确了,同志们——声明斯诺鲍一开始就是琼斯的奸细,是的,远在想着起义前就是的。”

“噢,这就不一样了!如果这是拿破仑同志说的,那就肯定不会错。”鲍克瑟说。

“这是事实的真相,同志们!”斯奎拉大叫着。但动物们注意到他那闪亮的小眼睛向鲍克瑟怪模怪样地瞥了一眼。在他转身要走时,停下来又强调了一句:“我提醒庄园的每个动物要睁大眼睛。我们有理由相信,眼下,斯诺鲍的密探正在我们中间潜伏着!”

四天以后,在下午的晚些时候,拿破仑召集所有的动物在院子里开会。他们集合好后,拿破仑从屋里出来了,佩戴着他的两枚勋章(他最近已授予他自己“一级动物英雄”和“二级动物英雄”勋章),还带着他那九条大狗,那些狗围着他蹦来蹦去,发出让所有动物都毛骨悚然的吼叫。动物们默默地蜷缩在那里,似乎预感到要发生什么可怕的事。

拿破仑严厉地站在那儿向下面扫了一眼,接着便发出一声尖细的惊叫。于是,那些狗就立刻冲上前咬住了四头猪的耳朵,把他们往外拖。那四头猪在疼痛和恐惧中嗥叫着,被拖到拿破仑脚下。猪的耳朵流出血来。狗尝到了血腥味,发狂了好一会儿。使所有动物感到惊愕的是,有三条狗向鲍克瑟扑去。鲍克瑟看到他们来了,就伸出巨掌,在半空中逮住一条狗,把他踩在地上。那条狗尖叫着求饶,另外两条狗夹着尾巴飞跑回来了。鲍克瑟看着拿破仑,想知道是该把那狗压死呢还是放掉。拿破仑变了脸色,他厉声喝令鲍克瑟把狗放掉。鲍克瑟抬起掌,狗带着伤哀号着溜走了。

喧嚣立即平静下来了。那四头猪浑身发抖地等待发落,面孔上的每道皱纹似乎都刻写着他们的罪状。他们正是抗议拿破仑废除星期天大会议的那四头猪。拿破仑喝令他们坦白罪行。他们没等进一步督促就交代说,他们从斯诺鲍被驱逐以后一直和他保持秘密接触,还配合他捣毁风车,并和他达成一项协议,打算把动物庄园拱手让给弗雷德里克先生。他们还补充说斯诺鲍曾在私下里对他们承认,他过去几年来一直是琼斯的特务,他们刚一坦白完,狗就立刻咬穿了他们的喉咙。这时,拿破仑声色俱厉地质问别的动物还有什么要坦白的。

那三这曾经试图通过鸡蛋事件领头闹事的鸡走上前去,说斯诺鲍曾在她们的梦中显现,并煽动她们违抗拿破仑的命令。她们也被杀掉了。接着一只鹅上前坦白,说他曾在去年收割季节藏了六穗谷子,并在当天晚上吃掉了。随后一只羊坦白说她曾向饮水池里撒过尿,她说是斯诺鲍驱使她这么干的。另外两只羊交待道,他们曾经谋杀了一只老公羊,一只十分忠实的拿破仑的信徒,他们在他正患咳嗽时,追着他围着火堆转来转去。这些动物都被当场杀掉了。口供和死刑就这样进行着,直到拿破仑脚前堆起一堆尸体。空气中弥漫着浓重的血腥味,这样的事情自从赶走琼斯以来还一直是闻所未闻的。

等这一切都过去了,剩下的动物,除了猪和狗以来,便都挤成一堆溜走了。他们感到震惊,感到害怕,但却说不清到底什么更使他们害怕——是那些和斯诺鲍结成同盟的叛逆更可怕呢,还是刚刚目睹的对这些叛逆的残忍的惩罚更可怕。过去,和这种血流遍地的情景同样可怕的事也时常可见,但对他们来说是一次要阴森得多,因为这就发生在他们自己同志中间。从琼斯逃离庄园至今,没有一个动物杀害过其他动物,就连老鼠也未曾受害。这时,他们已经走到小山包上,干了一半的风车就矗立在那里,大伙不约而同地躺下来,并挤在一起取暖。克拉弗、穆丽尔、本杰明、牛、羊及一群鹅和鸡,实际上,除了那只猫外全都在这儿,猫在拿破仑命令所有动物集合的时候突然失踪了。一时间,大家都默默不语,只有鲍克瑟还继续站着,一边烦躁不安地走来走去,一边用他那又长又黑的尾巴不断地在自己身上抽打着。偶尔还发出一丝惊叫声,最后他说话了。

“我不明白,我真不愿相信这种事会发生在我们庄园里,这一定得归咎于我们自己的某些失误。要解决这个,我想关键就是要更加努力地工作,从今天起,早上我要提前一个小时起床。”

他步履沉重地走开了,走向采石场。到了那儿,他便连续收集了两车石头,并且都拉到风车那里,一直忙到晚上才收工。

动物们挤在克拉弗周围默默不语。从他们躺着的地方,可以俯视整个村庄,在那里,动物庄园的绝大部分都尽收眼底。他们看到:狭长的牧场伸向那条大路,耕种过的地里长着茁壮而碧绿的麦苗,还有草滩、树林、饮水池塘,以及庄园里的红色屋顶和那烟囱里冒出的袅袅青烟。这是一个晴朗的春天的傍晚,夕阳的光辉洒在草地和茂盛的丛林上,荡漾着片片金辉。他们此刻忽然想到,这是他们自己的庄园,每一吋土地都归他们自己所有,这是他们感到十分惊讶,因为在此之前,他们从未发现这里竟是如此令他们心驰神往。克拉弗看着下面的山坡,热泪不禁涌上眼眶。如果她有办法说出此时的想法的话,她肯定就会这样说,现在的情形可不是几年前他们为推翻人类而努力奋斗的目标,这些可怕的情形以及这种杀戮并不是他们在老麦哲第一次鼓动起义的那天晚上所向往的。对于未来,如果说她还曾有过什么构想,那就一定是构想了这样一个社会:在那里,没有饥饿和鞭子的折磨,一律平等,各尽其能,强者保护弱者,就象是在麦哲讲演的那天晚上,她曾经用前腿保护着那是最后才到的一群小鸭子一样。但现在她不明白,为什么他们现在竟处在一个不敢讲真话的世界里。当那些气势汹汹的狗到处咆哮的时候,当眼看着自己的同志在坦白了可怕的罪行后被撕成碎片而无可奈何的时候,她的心里没有反叛或者违命的念头。她知道,尽管如此,他们现在也比琼斯在的时候强多了,再说,他们的当务之急还是要防备人类卷土重来。不管出了什么事,她都要依然忠心耿耿,辛勤劳动,服从拿破仑的领导,完成交给自己的任务。然而,她仍相信,她和其他的动物曾期望并为之操劳的,并不是今天这般情景;他们建造风车,勇敢地冒着琼斯的枪林弹雨冲锋陷阵也不是为着这些。这就是她所想的,尽管她还一下说不清。

最后,她觉得实在找不到什么合适的措词,而只能换个方式来表达,于是便开始唱“英格兰兽”。围在她周围的动物跟着唱起来。他们唱了三遍,唱得十分和谐,但却缓慢而凄然。他们以前还从没有用这种唱法唱过这支歌。

他们刚唱完第三遍,斯奎拉就在两条狗的陪同下,面带着要说什么大事的神情向他们走过来。他宣布,遵照拿破仑同志的一项特别命令,“英格兰兽”已被废止了。从今以后禁止再唱这首歌。

动物们怔住了。

“为什么?穆丽尔囔道。

“不需要了,同志们,”斯奎拉冷冷地说到,‘英格兰兽’是起义用的歌。但起义已经成功,今天下午对叛徒的处决就是最后的行动。另外仇敌已经全部打垮了。我们在‘英格兰兽’中表达的是在当时对未来美好社会的渴望,但这个社会现在已经建立。这首歌明显不再有任何意义了。”

他们感到害怕,可是,恐怕还是有些动物要提出抗议。但就在这时,羊大声地咩咩叫起那套老调子来:“四条腿好,两条腿坏。”持续了好几分钟,也就结束了这场争议。

于是再也听不到“英格兰兽”这首歌了,取而代之的,是善写诗的梅尼缪斯写的另外一首歌,它是这样开头的:

动物庄园,动物庄园,

我永远不会损害您!

从此,每个星期天早晨升旗之后就唱这首歌,但不知怎么搞的,对动物们来说,无论是词还是曲,这首歌似乎都不再能和“英格兰兽”相提并论了。