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Animal Ferm: Chapter I

No lang syne, the warks o George Orwell cam oot o copyricht. I’v stertit a translate o Animal Farm (I’m on Chapter 9 the nou) and I thocht I’d post the first chapter here.

Animal Ferm by George Orwell

Chapter I

Mr Cameron, o the Kirklands Ferm, haed sneckit the hen-hooses for the nicht, but wis ower fou wi drink tae mind and steek the pop-holes. Wi the ring o licht frae his lantren jowin frae side tae side, he hytert athort the yaird, kickit aff his buits at the back door, haed ae last swallie frae the beer bowie ben the scullery, and stoitert up til his bed, whaur Mrs Cameron wis aaready snorin awa.

As suin as the licht in the bedroom gaed oot the’ war a steer and flochter aa throu the ferm biggins. Wird haed gane roond that day that auld Major, the prize Middle White boar, haed haen an unco dream the nicht afore and wantit tae tell the ither bease aboot it. They haed gree’d they should aa meet ben the muckle barn as suin as Mr Cameron wis sauf oot o the wey. Auld Major (as he wis aye caa’d, tho kent as Vailey Vire at the mercat) wis that weel regairdit on the ferm that aabody wis happy tae tyne an oor’s sleep for tae hear what he haed tae say.

At ae end o the muckle barn, on a kin o raised platform, Major wis aaready sattelt on his bed o strae, unner a lantren that wis hingin frae a caber. He wis twal year auld and haed growen a bittie brosie the past wee while, but he wis aye a majestic-leukin pig, that haed a cannie and couthie leuk aboot him, for aa that his tusks haed niver been sneddit. Afore lang the ither bease begoud arrivin and makkin theirsels comfortable. First cam the three dugs, Bluebell, Jessie and Pincher, and syne the pigs, that sattelt doun in the strae richt forenent the platform. The hens perched theirsels on the windae-sills, the doos flochtert up tae the bauks, the sheep and kye laid doun ahint the pigs and begoud tae chowe the cuid. The twa cairt-horse, Boxer and Claver, cam in thegither, walkin gey slaw and pittin doun their big hairy huifs awfu carefu-like for fear the’ war some wee craitur concealt in the strae. Claver wis a brosie mitherly meir nearin the middle o her life, that haed niver quite gotten her fígur back efter her fowert foal. Boxer wis a wappin great beast, nearaboot echteen haunds hie, and as stark as ony twa ordinar horse pitten thegither. A white strip doun his nose made him leuk juist that wee bit glaikit, and it wis e’en true he haedna the shairpest wit, but aabody respectit his guid character and undeemous pouers o wark. Efter the horse cam Muriel, the white gait, and Benjamin the cuddie. Benjamin wis the auldest animal on the ferm, and the maist ill-naiturt. He didna speak muckle, and whan he did it wis for ordinar tae mak some cynical remerk — for instance he wad say that God haed gien him a tail for tae keep the flees aff, but that he wad suiner hiv haen nae tail and nae flees. Alane amang the bease on the ferm he niver lauched. If speirt hou no, he wad say that he saw nocht tae lauch at. Aye and on, ithoot iver sayin sae, he wis browdent on Boxer; the twa o them aamaist aye spent their Sundays thegither ben the wee parrock furth o the orchart, girsin side by side and niver speakin.

The twa horse haed juist layen doun whan a cleckin o deuklins that haed tint their mither filed intae the barn, cheepin wabbit-like and daunderin frae side tae side for tae finnd a bit whaur they wadna be tredden on. Claver made a kin o waa aboot them wi her muckle front leg, and the deuklins bosied doun inside it and gaed strecht tae sleep. At the last maument Mollie, the fuil, bonnie white meir that drew Mr Cameron’s creel, cam mincin in jimp-like, chowin on a lump o sugar. She teuk a place near the front and begoud daffin her white mane, howpin tae gar fowk notice the reid ribbons it wis pleatit wi. Last o aa cam the cat, that leukit aboot, as uisual, for the wairmest bit, and endit up birzin hersel in atween Boxer and Claver; there she thrummed awa quite content oot-throu Major’s discoorse ithoot takkin tent o a wird o what he wis sayin.

Aa the craiturs wis nou forgaithert, binna Moses, the tame corbie, that sleepit on a perch ahint the back door. Whan Major saw they haed aa made theirsels comfortable and war gleg waitin on him tae stert, he raukit his thrapple and begoud:

‘My feres, ye will hae heard aaready aboot yon unco dream I haed last nicht. But I s’ come tae that efter. I hae anither thing tae say first. I dinna ’hink, my feres, that I s’ be wi ye for mony months mair, and afore I dee I feel it is my duty tae pass on tae ye siccan wit and lair as I hae acquired. I’v haen a lang life, I’v haen a guid feck time for thocht as I laid my lane i’ my staa, and I ’hink I can say that I unnerstaund the naitur o life on this yird as weel as ony animal nou lívin. It is this I want tae speak tae ye aboot.

‘Nou, my feres, what is the naitur o this life o oors? Lat me be fair oot wi ye. Oor lifes is miserable, a tyauve, and cutty. Oo’r born, oo’r gien juist eneuch scran tae keep the breith i’ wir bodies, and them amang us ’at haes the docht is pitten tae the darg till they canna darg nae mair; and syne, whan oo’r nae mair uiss tae wir fell maisters, oo’r slauchtert. Nae animal in Britain kens the meanin o happiness or easedom efter he is a year auld. Nae craitur in Britain is free. As bease oo dree a life o dule and thirldom: that is the plain trowth.

‘But is this juist pairt o the order o Naitur? Is it cause this laund o oors is sae puir it canna gie a decent life tae them ’at bides on it? Na, my feres, a thoosand times na! The grund o Britain is bonnie, its climate is braw, and it’s weel capable o hairsts fouthie eneuch tae feed us and a hale hantle ithers forby. This ae ferm o oors wad dae for a dizzen horse, twinty nowt, hunders o sheep — and aa o them lívin in mair comfort and wi mair dignity nor ye could e’er imagine. What for is it, than, that oo haud gaun i’ this awfu plyte? Cause near the hale o wir darg is reived frae us by human beins. There, my feres, is the answer tae aa oor problems. It’s summed up i’ the ae wird — Man. Man is the ae real fae oo hae. Remuive Man frae the pictur, and the ruit cause o hunger and owerwark is connacht for aye.

‘Man is the ae craitur ’at consumes ithoot producin. He disna gies milk, he disna lay eggs, he is ower waik tae pou the pleuch, he canna rin fest eneuch tae catch rabbits. Yet he haes owerance o aa the bease. He pits them tae wark, he gies back tae them no a nirl mair nor is needit for tae weir aff hunger, and he keeps the lave for his ain. Oor labour teels the grund, wir shairn mucks it, and yet the’r no ane o us ’at haes ocht tae shaw for it. You kye ’at I see afore me, hou mony thoosands o gallons o milk hiv ye gien ower the past year? And what haes happent yon milk ’at should hae been gien the caur tae mak them stieve? Ivery drap haes gane doun the thrapples o wir faes. And you hens, hou mony eggs hae ye layen ower the past year, and hou mony o thae eggs cleckit intae chickens? The lave haes aa gane tae the mercat for the ettle o bringin in siller for Cameron and his men. And you, Claver, whaur’s thae fower foals ye buir, ’at should hae been the uphaud and pleisur o your eild? Ilk ane wis selt at a year auld — ye’ll niver see ane o them again. In return for your fower affspring and aa your darg i’ the fields, what’s been gien ye forby your scrimp rations and a staa?

‘And e’en the miserable lifes oo dae lead isna alloued tae rax their natural span. I dinna girn mysel, sin I’m ane o the sonsie anes. I’m twal year auld and hiv haen ower fower hunder bairns. That’s juist the wey o’t for a pig. But nae animal jouks the fell knife i’ the end. You gryce ’at’s sittin forenent me, ye will aa skraich your lifes oot at the block ithin the year. Oo maun aa come tae that gruesome end — nowt, swine, hens, sheep, aab’dy. E’en the horse and the dugs haes nae better weird. You, Boxer, the very day that stieve bouk or yours braks doun, Cameron will sell ye tae the knacker, ’at’ll stick your thrapple and byle ye doun for the tod-hoonds. As tae the dugs, whan they growe auld and tuithless Cameron sweels a brick aboot their craigs and drouns them i’ the nearest stank.

‘Is it no e’en clear, than, feres, that aa the ills o this life comes frae the tyranny o human beins? Redd oorsels o Man, and the produce o wir labour wad be wir ain. Aamaist owernicht oo could become walthy and free. What, than, maun oo dae? I’ll tell ye: wirk day and nicht, body and saul, for the dingin doun o the human race! That is my message tae ye, feres: Rebellion! I kenna whan that Rebellion will come, it micht be in an ouk or in a hunder year, but I div ken, as shuir as I see this strae aneath my feet, that at the lang and lenth o’t, justice will be duin. Keep your een airtit siccar on that, feres, oot-throu the cutty lave o your lifes! And abuin aa, pass doun this message o mine tae them ’at comes efter ye, sae that futur generations will haud gaun i’ the strauchle till victory is oors.

‘And mind, my feres, your smeddum maunna stoiter. Nae argument maun lead ye agley. Tentna them ’at tells ye that man and bease haes a common interest, that the sonse o the tane is the sonse o the tither. It is aa lees. Man sers the interest o nae craitur forby himsel. And amang us bease lat us be aefauld and siblike i’ the fecht. Aa men is faes. Aa bease is feres.’

At that maument the’ war an undeemous stramash. While Major wis speakin fower muckle rattons haed creepit oot o their holes and wis sittin on their hint-ends, listenin him. The dugs haed suddently catcht sicht o them, and it wis but by a breinge for their holes that the rattons sauft their lifes. Major raised his trotter for tae gar them wheesht:

‘Feres,’ he says, ‘here’s a pynt ’at maun be sattelt. The ragglish craiturs, siclike as the rattons and rabbits — ar they wir freends or wir unfreends? Lat us pit it tae the vote. I propone this question tae the gaitherin: is rattons feres?’

The vote wis taen strecht, and it wis gree’d by a majority that rattons wis feres. The’ war juist fower that dissentit, the three dugs and the cat, that wis efterhin fund tae hiv votit on baith sides. Major gaed on:

‘I hinna muckle mair tae say. I juist repeat, mind aye your duty o feid til Man and aa his weys. Whativer gangs upo twa legs is a fae. Whativer gangs upo fower legs, or haes wíngs, is a freend. And mind an-aa that in fechtin agin Man, oo maunna come tae be like him. E’en whan ye’v conquered him, dinna tak on his vices. Nae animal should iver líve ben a hoose, or sleep in a bed, or weir claes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tabaccae, or titch siller, or engage in tred. Aa Man’s laits is evil. And abuin aa, nae animal maun iver tyrannise ower his ain ilk. Waik or stark, glaikit or wice, oo’r aa brithers. Nae animal maun iver kill ony ither animal. Aa bease is equal.

‘And nou, feres, I s’ tell ye aboot my dream o last nicht. I canna descrive the dream tae ye. It wis a dream o the yird as it will be whan Man haes vainisht. But it mindit me o sowt I haed lang forgot. Mony a year syne, whan I wis a wee pig, my mither and the ither soos wad sing an auld sang ’at they juist kent the tuin and the first three wirds o. I haed kent the tuin i’ my bairnheid, but it haed lang syne passed oot o my mind. Last nicht, houiver, it cam back tae me i’ my dream. And mairower, the wirds o the sang cam back an-aa — wirds, I dout, ’at wis sang by the craiturs o lang syne but ’at fowk haesna mindit for generations. I will sing ye yon sang nou, my feres. I am auld and my voice is hairse, but whan I hae teached ye the tuin ye will can sing it better for yoursels. It’s cried “Bease o Britain”.’

Auld Major raukit his thrapple and begoud tae sing. Juist like he haed said, his voice wis hairse, but he sang weel eneuch, and it wis a rousin tuin, something atween ‘Clementine’ and ‘La Cucuracha’. It gaed:

Bease o Britain, Bease o Ireland,
Bease o ivery laund and clime,
Hearken tae my joyfu tidins
O the gowden futur time.

Suin or syne the day is comin,
The rule o tyrant Man be gane,
And the fruitfu fields o Britain
Will be tread by Bease alane.

Rings will vainish frae oor noses,
And the harness frae wir back,
Bit and spur will roust foriver,
Cruel whips nae mair will knack.

Riches mair nor mind can pictur,
Wheat and baurley, aits and hey,
Claver, beans, and mangie weesles,
Will be oors upo that day.

Bricht will shine the fields o Britain,
Purer will its watters be,
Sweeter yet will blaw its souchs,
On the day that sets us free.

For that day we aa maun trauchle,
Tho it brakna or we dee;
Kye, geese, horse and bubbly-jockies,
Aa maun tyauve tae mak us free.

Bease o Britain, Bease o Ireland,
Bease o ivery laund and clime,
Hearken tae my joyfu tidins
O the gowden futur time.

The singin o the sang steert up a feuch amang the bease. Aamaist afore Major haed gotten tae the end, they haed stertit singin it for theirsels. E’en the maist glaikit haed aaready uptaen the tuin and a wheen wirds, and as tae the gleg anes, sic as the pigs and dugs, they haed committit the hale sang tae hert ithin a few mínits. And syne, efter twa-three practise shotties, the hale ferm burst intae ‘Bease o Britain’ in full-boukit unison. The kye belloched it, the dugs yowled it, the sheep bleatit it, the horse skraiched it, the deuks quaikit it. They war that delitit wi the sang they gaed richt throu it five times efter ither, and micht hae hauden on wi the singin o it aa nicht if they haedna been interruptit.

Misfortunately the stooshie waukent Mr Cameron, that lowpit oot o his bed, shuir the’ war a tod in the yaird. He grippit the gun that aye stuid in a neuk o his bedroom, and lat flee a chairge o Nummer 6 shot intae the mirk. The pellets buirit theirsels in the waa o the barn and the gaitherin brak up in a gey hurry. Aabody flew til his ain sleepin-bit. The birds jimpit ontae their perches, the bease sattelt doun in the strae, and on a suddenty the hale ferm wis sleepin.

Airtwark by Carl Glover. Uised unner license CC BY 2.0.