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The Rattrap Summary

Author of The Rattrap

Selma Lagerlof

Theme of The Rattrap

This chapter shows that we can never outrun consequences of our act and Power of compassion.

Characters of The Rattrap

  1. Rattrap peddler: He is the protagonist of the story. He was a man who lives as a tramp wandering the countryside and selling rattraps. As he does not make enough money, He had to engage in petty thievery and begging, he has a pessimistic attitude towards the world. According to him the whole world is a giant rattrap, that offering riches, joy, food, shelter as bait for people.
    Characteristics: - Vagabond, thief, beggar, witty, philosopher & humorous.

  2. Edla Williamson: Daughter of the iron master. She is not pretty, but modest and quite shy. She is exceptionally kind. She is the most positive figure in the story and her compassion and generosity are the reason for the peddler’s transformation.
    Characteristics: - Kind, compassionate, friendly, charming, hospitable.

  3. Ironmaster: Man, who owns Ramsjo Ironworks. He was a very prominent ironmaster. In his younger days he was in the military.
    Characteristics: Greedy, cautious, hospitable, suspicious, unkind & task maker and a very good friend.

  4. Crofter: This is an old man who lets the peddler spend the night at his house. In his days of younth he use to work in Ramsjo
    Characteristics- Lonely, happy, friendly, gullible, generous & hospitable.

Chapter Explanation:

  1. The materials he uses, got by begging in the stores or at the big farms.

  2. Rattrap peddler’s clothes were in rags, his cheeks were sunken and hunger gleamed in his eyes.

  3. His life was monotonous.

  4. He entertains himself by thinking ill of the world.

  5. Late December (means it was night), one-night peddler was in search of shelter, he found a little Gray cottage by the roadside. (Old crofter’s house)

  6. How crofter welcomed him-
    The porridge pot on the fire and gave him supper, he carved off a big slice from his tobacco roll that it was enough, both for stranger’s pipe and his own. Finally, he got out an old pack of cards and played ‘mjolis’ with his guest until bedtime.

  7. The crofter told the peddler that he earned thirty kroners by selling the milk of her cow ‘Bossy’, as the peddler was not ready to believe, crofter took his leather pouch which was near the widow on a nail and showed him his thirty kronor.

  8. Next morning, as the crofter woke up, peddler also woke up, they went to their own ways, but the peddler came back to the crofter’s house, crofter was not there and house was locked. The peddler went to the window and smashed his hand through the glass pane and took thirty kroner form the pouch and put it back to its place.

  9. He chooses forest route, so that he will not get caught by the police, but after few hours he was unable to find any way to get out of the forest, he was felling that he was caught in the rattrap of this world he was tired and he fell on the ground.

  10. Suddenly he heard a thumping sound, it gave him idea that an iron mill is nearby him.

  11. All the time there were many sounds to be heard in the forge. The big bellows groaned and the burning coal cracked, the fire boy shovelled charcoal into the maw of the furnace with a great deal of clatter. Outside roared the waterfall, and a sharp north wind whipped the rain against the brick-tailed roof.

  12. Ironmaster’s greatest ambition was to ship out good iron to the market.

  13. Why he portrayed himself as captain in front of ironmaster?If the fine gentleman thought he was an old acquaintance, he might perhaps throw him a couple of kronor.

  14. The ironmaster sent his daughter Edla Williamson, to convince the captain von stahle(rattrap peddler) to celebrate Christmas with them, she went, she noticed that he was afraid, she understood that he might have stolen something or have escaped from prison.

  15. What convinced peddler go to ironmaster’s house?
    She ensured him that he will be free to leave whenever he wants, which made him to accept the invitation, even when he knows he going to the lion’s den.

  16. Peddler went, when he was groomed, ironmaster came to know that he was not his old acquaintance, when ironmaster was about to call sheriff, peddler told that one day like him he will also get trapped into the rattrap of this world which offers riches, joy, food, shelter as bait for people.

  17. Edla convinced her father to let him celebrate Christmas with them. He uses to sleep almost whole day.

  18. On the day of the Christmas Edla and her father went to church where he they came to know that the peddler had stolen the money of old crofter, they came back, the ironmaster asked the valet if the peddler have stolen anything but, he said that he didn’t instead he left a letter for Edla.

  19. Through the letter he thanked her for her compassionate behavior and promised her that he will live his rest of the life as a captain, he also left a cage with thirty kronors in it.