a famous story retold for children – first part

By George Orwell

Chapter 1

Here we are at Manor Farm….the farm of Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, is sleeping, as usual. He is always very drunk and does not care the animals.
The animals start passing word: they are meeting in the big bar. Old Major, a white pig, is going to tell them his dream of the night before. He is already waiting for them on a sort of platform. The animals arrive: the dogs, the pigs, the hens, the pigeons sit in front of Old Major, the sheep and the cows behind them. Clover and Boxer, the horses, come together: she is a female; a mare, and he is an enormous male horse, very strong, but not very intelligent. Muriel the goat and Benjamin, the Donkey follows them.
Benjamin never speaks to anyone. And when he speaks he is very cynical. Only Boxer is his friend.
Near the two horses are sitting a group of ducklings. They are choosing carefully the place where to sit because they are afraid the others do not see them.
Molly, the foolish pretty white mare, arrives later, chewing a lump of sugar. She is the horse that leads Mrs. Jones’s carriage.
At last the cat finds her place between Boxer and Clover, but she does not listen to a word of the speech.
The only animal absent is, the Raven: he lives in Mr, Jones’s House.
When they are all together, Old Major clears his voice and starts speaking: “Comrades, before dying I want to tell you what I know after my long life and what I understand. Men grow and feed us just because we are useful at work. When we become old or useless they kill us. We do not know what happiness is, we are not free. But this is not part of the order of nature. The English soil is fertile and the climate is good, it can feed a great number of animals. Our farm can give us a lot of food. But man takes the products of our work. He steals; he is the only enemy we have. He consumes without producing: he does not give milk or eggs, he does not work the land, and he does not run after the rabbits. But he is our master; on the contrary we have only our skin. And the end of our miserable lives is not natural: man kills, all of us. We must get rid of man and what we produce will belong to us.
The message is “rebellion”, rebellion against man. We must be all comrades….but – I ask you – are wild animals, rats and rabbits for example, our comrades?”
The animals’ answer is “Yes!” except for the three dogs and the cat.
So, remember! We are all equal and we will never nave the man’s vices, we will never be like him.I cannot describe my dream last night, but I want to make you listen to the song of my mother and that sounds in my dream. Its title is Beasts of England.
Old Major starts singing. The music is like Clementine or the Cucaracha.
Soon all the animals sing with him.
Unfortunately Mr. Jones interrupts the happy reunion: he thinks there is a fox and shots six bullets with his gun.
The animals run away at a great speed and the farm is silent once again.