Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yarnton Manor and My Visit to Animal Farm

Despite my lack of sleep from my fleet to England, I still managed to enjoy the sight of Oxford from the top deck of a double-decker bus.

As per the advice of Dr. Daniel Frank, who taught at Oxford for a number of years, I am staying at the Yarnton Manor. This complex of buildings, in the village of Yarnton a few miles outside of Oxford, houses the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

Before I left for England, my younger brother called me to find out if I planned on singing “Beasts of England” on the plane ride there. For those of you who are not familiar with George Orwell’s short novel, Animal Farm, “Beasts of England” is the anthem song by the animals of Manor Farm as they revolt against the tyrannical rule of farmer Jones and establish Animal Farm. Here are the lyrics:

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toil for freedom's sake.
Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time.

Imagine my surprise when, around the bend, I discovered a Manor Farm.

I did not find Napoleon, Snowball, Squealer or Boxer, but I did find this beautiful Shetland pony.

I tried explaining some of the doctrines of Animalism to this pony, such as “all animals are equal” and “four legs good, two legs bad,” but I think it was mainly interested in finding out if I had any treats on me. Unlike a certain parent of mine, I am capable of resisting the begging of even the most adorable animals.


Miss S. said...

The picture of that pony made me "squee"...

Why is there sun and blue skies in England when there is grey ominous clouds and rain here in Pennsylvania? It must be the end of the world as we know it...

ShanaMaidel said...

It is so cute! Can you take the horse home?

Izgad said...

I am sure we could if we did like Boxer and sent the pony to the knackers to boil it down for glue. Then we could make up a story about the pony dying in bed declaring that Comrade BZ is always right.