Animal Farm Chapter 1
After Mr. Jones the farmer has gone to bed (drunk as usual), the animals all sneak into the barn to hear a speech by Old Major. First the dogs arrive, then the pigs, followed by the hens, sheep, cows, pigeons, ducks and so on. Among the animals are Boxer and Clover the cart-horses, Muriel the goat, Benjamin the donkey, Mollie the white mare and the cat.
Old Major tells them he has done a lot of thinking in his long life, particularly about the hardships the animals face (hard work, little food and eventually being slaughtered). He believes these hardships are all due to the greedy humans:
"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." Chapter 1, pg. 7
He tells them to work for the eventual overthrow of the human race. "All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."Chapter 1, pg. 9
He reminds the animals to stick together and protect each other, even the wild animals, and to remember that they are all equal. He also warns them never to adopt any human habits. He teaches them a song which came to him in his dream, an old song that he remembers his mother and the other sows singing parts of when he was young. The song is about liberation and is called "Beasts of England".
They quickly learn the song and start singing it, but this wakes Mr. Jones who lets off a charge from his gun in case there is a fox in the yard. The animals all hurry off to bed.