Old Major dies three days later. The animals set out to prepare for the rebellion. The pigs, being the most intelligent animals on the farm, take the lead on this. The task of working Old Major’s ideas into a more formal system falls to three pigs, Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer. These three organise regular nighttime meetings with the other animals to explain the principles of their system, called Animalism. They encounter many obstacles from amongst the simpler animals, who are afraid of what might happen if Jones was not around to feed them. Also, Moses the Raven is always telling the animals about an animal’s paradise called Sugarcandy Mountain, where the animals go when they die. Many of the animals believe in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs have to keep on persuading them that no such place exists.
Without any planning, the rebellion happens on Midsummer’s day, just before harvest. Farmer Jones gets hopelessly drunk the night before and neglects to milk the cows or feed the animals all day. One of the cows breaks down a door to the storage shed, and several of the animals begin to help themselves from the bins. Jones now awakes and seeing this, he and his four farmhands begin whipping the animals out of the storage shed. The animals attack the humans spontaneously and furiously. The shocked men react by almost immediately running down the laneway and fleeing the farm. The farm now belongs to the animals.
The animals are ecstatic. They light a great bonfire and burn every farm implement they can lay their hands on, including knives, nose-rings and whips. Napoleon serves double-rations of food to every animal, they gather to sing Beasts of England, and they go to sleep. The next morning they carry out a more detailed inspection of the farm, stopping warily outside the farmhouse. After doing a brief and cautious tour of the farmhouse, they leave, vowing that no animal should ever live there, and to preserve the farmhouse as a museum.
Snowball and Napoleon now call the animals together and surprise them by announcing that they have spent the last few months learning to write. Next, they go to the main gate of the farm and paint over “Manor Farm”, replacing it with “Animal Farm”. Returning to the farm buildings, they paint the seven commands of Animalism onto the gable of the big barn;
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
- Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
- No animal shall wear clothes.
- No animal shall sleep in a bed.
- No animal shall drink alcohol.
- No animal shall kill any other animal.
- All animals are equal.
With this done, the animals set out to begin the harvest. But as they do so, the cows remind them that they have not been milked for twenty-four hours. The pigs get some buckets and do the milking themselves, producing five buckets of delicious-looking milk. Some of the animals ask what is to be done with the milk, but Napoleon tells them not to worry about it, and that they should concentrate on the harvest instead. When they return in the evening, the milk has disappeared.