The Rattrap By Selma Lagerlof

Here’s the quick notes for all of you for last minute revision…after revising the notes do attempt the Google form. LINK PROVIDED .




About The Lesson
The Rattrap is a wonderful story. It gives voice to the writer’s conviction that no man is criminal by birth.
Secondly, every sinner has a trace of goodness in him which can be awakened through love and
understanding. Loving care can change a thief into a decent fellow. This is the theme of the story.
The man in rags was a poor vagabond. He used to beg as well as steal. But he had a thinking brain and
skill to make rat traps. He was a peddler. The wire made rattrap gave him an idea that the whole world
was like a trap. It offered the bait of riches , shelter , food etc to innocent people to entrap them first and
then get them punished by law.
The protagonist/hero of the story was tired and hungry and in need of a shelter for the night. He found a
generous old man/a crofter in a cottage. He was tempted to steal the host’s money. He was caught in
the trap himself. He lost his way in a forest. He took shelter in an iron forge. The ironmaster mistook
him for his old comrade , a captain. He sent his daughter to bring the captain home to celebrate
Christmas . The hospitality and the sympathy of the hosts changed his view of the world. He was
touched deeply by the goodness of the young lady. It proved a turning point in his life. He left the stolen
money at the Ironmaster’s home to be returned to the old man and started a new life.

Characters in the story :

  1. Rattrap seller/ peddler/ vagabond /intruder/ tramp/ tall ragamuffin/ guest / stranger / Von Stahle
  2. The old man/ crofter
  3. Iron master/ owner of Ramjso Ironworks
  4. Edla Willmansson /daughter of Iron master
  5. Captain Nils Olof Von Stahle/ an old acquaintance of iron master
  6. The valet / servant at manor house
  7. Sheriff/ Police officer / official
  8. Master Blacksmith and his helper who sat in the dark forge near the furnace
  9. Elizabeth -wife of Iron master who is no more
  10. Very short answer type questions: (For RTC purpose)
  11. What is the theme of the story ?
    Ans. Loving care can change a thief into a decent
  12. How did the peddler earn his livelihood?
    Ans. By making and selling rattraps.
  13. What kind of life did he live ?
    Ans. Sad and miserable like a thief or a beggar
  14. What strange idea about the world struck
    the peddler?
    Ans. The whole world was a big Rattrap.
  15. From where did the peddler get the idea of
    world being a rattrap ?
    Ans. From his Rattraps.
  16. Why was he amused by this idea?
    Ans. World was not kind to him.
  17. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly
    with the peddler ?
    Ans. As he was alone , he was happy to have
  18. Did the peddler respect the confidence
    reposed in him by the crofter?
    Ans. No, he stole 30 kronors.
  19. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to
    peddler and invite him home ?
    Ans. Mistook him for an old acquaintance.
  20. What doubts did Edla have about the
    peddler ?
    Ans. Either stolen something or escaped from jail.
  21. When did iron master realise his mistake?
    Ans. After he got the peddler wear new clothes
    after being bathed and shaven.
  22. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even
    after she had known the truth?
    Ans. Invited and promised to stay and celebrate
  23. What did Edla and her father hear at the
    Ans. Rattrap seller stole 30 kronors from an old
  24. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by
    the peddler ?
    Ans. Her trust was not broken
  25. Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain
    Von Stahle ?
    Ans. Raised himself to the level/stature of Captain.
    Short answer type questions:
  26. Why does the peddler think that the world was a rattrap?
    Ans. While going round selling his rattraps, he strikes an idea that the whole world around him is nothing but arattrap. It offers riches , joy , shelter, food etc to the people as the rattrap offers cheese and pork for the
    rats . It also reflects his thinking ability.
  27. The crofter can be called a good host . Why ?
    Ans. He not only gave shelter to the peddler for a night but also served him supper. He welcomed the peddler
    with a smiling face . He played cards with him.
  28. What brought about a change in the life of the peddler ?
    Ans. It was Edla’s kind , sympathetic behaviour and hospitality . She did not think it better to chase away a
    man whom they had invited.
  29. Why did the peddler sign himself as ‘ Captain Von Stahle’ ?
    Ans. The peddler wrote “since you have been nice to me all day long as if I were a Captain. So I want to be
    nice to you as a real Captain.
  30. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler ?
    Ans. The letter had words of praise for Edla’s kindness and hospitality . She was happy to see the gift which
    was a reward of his goodness. Her trust was not broken.
  31. Long answer type questions: (Character Sketches)
  32. ● Rattrap Peddler
  33. Vagabond/Tramp
  34. Makes living by selling rattraps
  35. Business not profitable
  36. Has to beg and steal
  37. Strikes an idea one day
  38. Whole world is a rattrap
  39. Stays at old man’s house one night
  40. Steals his 30 kronor
  41. Lost his way in woods
  42. Reached an iron mill
  43. Stays at the house of iron master
  44. Influenced by Edla’s loving care
  45. Raised himself to real Captain
  46. Starts living a happy life finally
    ● Edla Willmansson
  47. Daughter of iron master
  48. Kind, compassionate, shy, modest ,
  49. A great host
  50. Keen observer with a sharp intelligence
  51. Persuades the tramp to accompany her
  52. Requests her father to let the peddler stay
  53. Receives the gift of a rattrap with a letter
    and 30 kronors
  54. Brings out the hidden but inherent
    goodness of the peddler
    ● Crofter
  55. Old man without wife or child
  56. Lives in a cottage by roadside
  57. Happy to get someone to talk to in his
  58. Simple , generous and hospitable
  59. Gives rattrap seller shelter for the night.
  60. Serves porridge , offers big slice from
    tobacco roll and plays cards
  61. Tells/trusted rattrap seller about his past
  62. Proud of his cow which supports him,
    earns 30 kronors
  63. Shows the pouch hung at window frame