Disclaimer: I don't own Animal Farm or the live action adaption. Those rights go to the author and the film makers.
The wind cast a gentle breeze, washing over the land and bringing a pleasant grace to whomever it passed. It always calmed Jessie down. The border collie took in its pleasant scent and it eased her old bones. As the wind soothed her, the sunlight parted away from the clouds and warmed her body. Honestly she felt good, and it was the first time she had felt so in a long while. Body wise that is. Her mind was long at peace.
It had been sometime since the new family had bought the farm. It had taken time but progress was already done on the decaying homestead. What the judgement storm had left was now cleansed away for a brighter future. The new family was kind. A word not often associated with humans. Least back during the revolution. And furthermore, they seemed to care about the farm and those who lived in it. It was too good to be true. But in her heart, she knew they wouldn't be like Jones. Wishful thinking really, but she had hope, something that she hadn't had in such a long time.
And it was on this very day that Jessie almost decided to lay down for a nap. She would have, if she hadn't sensed what was sneaking up behind her.
"Sneaking around are you James?" Jessie said, her voice still as vibrant as ever, even in her old age.
Craning her neck around, she saw a young male border collie standing behind her.
"Aww dang it. I can't sneak up on you Grandma." the male spoke, his voice very young. By human standards it would best befit a teenager, though James was already leaning his way into young adulthood.
"Still playing games I see." Jessie spoke amusingly.
"Hey it makes things more interesting. Better than being a boring guard dog." James said as a matter of factly.
Jessie chuckled again. Her grandson was always a source of good humor. Sometimes she could hardly believe it, she was a grandmother. Back during the days of hiding from Napoleon, she had thought her family was lost. But deep in her heart, she prayed and hoped that some fraction was still alive. And she got her wish when she saw her last surviving daughter within the ruins of the farm. James was her daughter's so, and the very sight of him filled her with joy. As much sight as her almost blind eyes could make out that is.
James walked over to her and gave her a few licks, which she returned. Both grandson and grandmother were very close. Often he would visit her, checking in on her, or simply playing with her. Really James was still a big puppy in terms of attitude.
The bounty of youth. Admittedly, Jessie envied it. It reminded her of the days of her own lost youth. She missed the energy she once had, but time was concrete. What was taken away could not be restored. Still, her grandson gave her enough energy to go on. She wasn't sure how long she had left in her, but she would hold out as long as she could.
"So James? Anything new today?" Jessie asked.
"Oh nothing much, Sis is out in the field and Mum's brooding again." James recited that with a hint of bitterness. Jessie could sense it.
"Please James. Try to be easy on your mother. She's had a hard life." Jessie attempted to quell her grandson's ill feelings.
Her daughter was a complicated creature. Often times she was cold, and she attempted to raise her children in a disciplined manner. Jessie supposed that years of being Napoleon's loyal lapdog would leave some evident scars. Not to mention watching the farm crumble before her. Her daughter had told her well of what had transpired during the fall, but some facts she kept to herself. Mainly about the identity of her children's father. Her daughter had been pregnant when she had found her, but barely divulged any details about her presumed mate. Jessie decided not to press the matter any further. The look of pain and regret that crossed her daughter's face was just too much to bear for her.
"Yeah but if only she'd just lighten up a tad." James said flopping himself down upon the ground.
"Here to join me?" Jessie asked. No, that couldn't be the case. James showed no signs of being tired, so what else?
And that's when James's face became a tad hesitant. Jessie could sense it in his body language, in his emotions.
"Actually Grandma, I wanted to ask you something." James said, voice still dripping with hesitance.
"Ask me what dear?" Jessie asked.
James still fought with his hesitance, grappled with it, but at last managed to throw it aside. "About Animal Farm."
Jessie felt a sharp breath draw within her throat. "What did you say?"
"Animal Farm." James repeated.
"Where did you hear that name?" Jessie asked.
"I heard it around, some of the older animals mentioned it. I asked Mum about it but she got real silent and told me to ask you."
Jessie looked away towards the barn. As she did, memories flashed back before her. Back during days when a dream was spoken. Back during the days when they revolted against their masters, and back when it all began to crumble down. So many had been lost, and Jessie would never forget them as long as she lived.
"Please Grandma, tell me about it." James begged.
Jessie began to think for a moment. She could see the longing in her grandson's eyes, the impatience of youth. She would help satisfy it.
"It happened so long ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday." Jessie began. James made himself comfortable and Jessie continued her tale. "Years ago, this farm was owned by a man named Jones. Jones was an uncaring man, who paid little attention to the farm and to us. The work was hard and thankless." James cocked his head back. So far all the humans he had known were the new family that owned the farm, and all he had seen from them were kindness and understanding. The thought of an uncaring human was unheard of to him. "That evening, Old Major, the wisest animal of the farm called us all in for a meeting. There he spoke of a dream he had where we were free of humans and all animals were equal. When Old Major died, we decided to uphold his dream and we drove Jones from the farm."
"Whoa! You mean you actually stood up to humans and won?" James said with amazement.
Jessie nodded. "We were united, and that was our strength. The farm quickly became ours and for the first time, we felt free. We all did our part, but the pigs were the ones who held the leadership. We worked while they directed. The most prominent pig was named Snowball. It was he who taught us to read and write and thus he renamed the farm to Animal Farm."
"Wait? You can read?" James asked. A nod from his grandmother was all that he got. It was a new ideal for James, who was quite illiterate.
"Things were wonderful, but there was one pig who desired power, and his name was Napoleon." And that's when Jessie's voice took on a tone of foreboding. "He and Snowball would argue on how to run the farm, but it was nothing to worry about at first. Yet, I could feel something was wrong. And my fears were founded when Napoleon took my puppies, your mother away from me."
James widened his eyes. "What did he do with her?"
"I don't know." Jessie sighed. "He wouldn't let me see her or her siblings. Whenever I asked, he just claimed he was educating them." Jessie's voice became sad as she remembered when her pups were weaned away from her. At the time, she had told herself that it was for the best, that whatever education her pups were receiving was for their benefit. But nothing would prepare her for what happened next. "Over time, Napoleon and Snowball's arguments became more fervent. But in the end it was Napoleon who won. He had indoctrinated the dogs of the farm into his animal guard, and that included my puppies. When I saw them, they were grown and no longer recognized me. They chased Snowball from the farm and Napoleon took over."
"What? But that's so wrong!" James said in full incited anger. "He couldn't just do that!"
"Calm down James." Jessie soothed to her grandson.
James got back down. "Sorry," he apologized, "I just well, why didn't you stand up to him?"
"At the time, the pigs convinced us everything was for the best. And we had no desire to return to our previous lives of servitude. Life went on as usual, all under Napoleon's charge. But the more things went, the more I could sense something was wrong. The pigs began living in the house, hoarding all the food and milk for themselves. The work became harder, and sometimes we went without food."
Jessie could feel James's anger beginning to rise. Her grandson believed in fairness, and she could tell he had no love for Napoleon as he heard more.
"I suppose we should have spoken up, but we worked hard. Yet there was one who worked harder than all of us." And the final memory played up. "My friend Boxer. He was a horse, and the one who believed in Napoleon the most. He never complained even when things were tough. He just viewed it as simply needing to work harder. His strength provided for the farm, but even he had his limits. One day, while working. He collapsed. We took him back to the farm to rest but after days he showed no signs of improvement." Jessie held her head low.
"What happened to him?" James asked. He had noticed an absence of a horse named Boxer. None of the other animals talked about him either.
"The pigs said they had arranged for him to be taken to a hospital. They loaded him into a truck but when the door closed behind him, we saw the truth. It wasn't for the hospital, but the horse slaughterer."
James grew silent, as he knew something worse was about to come.
"I chased after him, trying to get his attention, hoping he would free himself, but it was too late. I never saw him again." There was a drop of silence in the air before Jessie at last continued. "After that, I knew we couldn't stay here any longer. I gathered a few of us and fled towards the edge of the farm. For years we hid, hoping for a chance. And at last, that chance came. Napoleon had fallen, and so did the farm. A great storm had washed everything away, and in the ruins that's where I found your mother."
"And then what happened?" James asked.
Jessie let out a weary sigh. "Time passed, you were born, and the new owners bought the farm, and here we are." Looking over to James, the foreboding feelings left her filling one again with warmth.
"Wow...Grandma...I didn't know you went through that." James said solemnly. "I don't know what to say." Pure understanding washed over James, for at last he had an explanation. Jessie could see it too. Most of all, Jessie could see James had an understanding of his mother. All the reasons for her behavior, how she raised her children. But really, James had an understanding of his grandmother. More so than before. "I just...wow." he continued in a blown fashion.
"I know. It's a lot to take in, but it happened." said Jessie.
James tried to find the words to speak, to ask further. But none came to mind. But he didn't stop, he kept racking his mind for something to say. And at last a question formed.
"Grandma. Can I ask you something?"
"Yes. What is it?"
"If you wanted to overthrow humans before, then why are you letting humans run the farm now?"
Now that was a question. And one Jessie was able to answer.
"I suppose so we don't make the same mistakes as before. What I learned from the revolution, was that humans and animals aren't so different. We love, we hate, we feel desire. And it was that very desire that things fell apart." Jessie explained. "We believed ourselves better than humans, but in the end the pigs became no better than them." Pride, and a desire to separate from their masters. "I suppose we were afraid it would happen again, but I decided to take a chance."
"A chance?" James repeated.
"A chance that humans and animals could build something greater."
And that was the way it was. They would work with the new family. They would restore the farm to glory, and together they would be truly free. And the new generation would live in that world.
A/N: Okay this was really hard to write. This is based on the 1999 film adaptation of Animal Farm. This is sort of an epilogue to it based on the ending scene of the film. Now as I said before, this was really hard for me to write. I tried to keep up the overall message and theme the ending of the film presented. I know some people rag on the live action film, but personally I like it. Sure it had a happy ending, but this was to reflect the fall of the Soviet Union. Anyway, I just hope you enjoy this.