Late one evening in the summer, a sudden rumour ran round the farm that something had happened to Boxer . . . A few minutes later two pigeons came racing in with the news: “Boxer has fallen! He is lying on his side and can’t get up!”
About half the animals on the farm rushed out to the knoll where the windmill stood. There lay Boxer, between the shafts of the cart, his neck stretched out, unable even to raise his head. . . .
After about a quarter of an hour Squealer appeared, full of sympathy and concern. He said that Comrade Napoleon had learned with the very deepest distress of this misfortune to one of the most loyal workers on the farm, and was already making arrangements to send Boxer to be treated in the hospital at Willingdon.
The animals felt a little uneasy at this. Except for Mollie and Snowball, no other animal had ever left the farm, and they did not like to think of their sick comrade in the hands of human beings. However, Squealer easily convinced them that the veterinary surgeon in Willingdon could treat Boxer’s case more satisfactorily than could be done on the farm . . .
The animals were all at work weeding turnips under the supervision of a pig, when they were astonished to see Benjamin come galloping from the direction of the farm buildings, braying at the top of his voice. It was the first time that they had ever seen Benjamin excited — indeed, it was the first time that anyone had ever seen him gallop.
“Quick, quick!” he shouted. “Come at once! They’re taking Boxer away!” . . .
Sure enough, there in the yard was a large closed van, drawn by two horses, with lettering on its side and a sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat sitting on the driver’s seat. And Boxer’s stall was empty.
The animals crowded round the van. “Good-bye, Boxer!” they chorused, “good-bye!”
“Fools! Fools!” shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping the earth with his small hoofs.
“Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van?” . . . in the midst of a deadly silence he read: ” ‘Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.’ Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker’s!”
[Via Billmon at Whiskey Bar ]
This is my last post at VodkaPundit. I think everyone, guest bloggers included, will be very glad when Host Steve returns. Hopefully, we entertained you some, provoked you some, and kept the Sitemeter stat counter from dropping.