Question 1 : What do we learn about the crofter’s nature from the story, ‘The Rattrap’?
Answer : The crofter was a very kind man. He took pity on the peddler and not only gave him shelter but also gave him food to eat and tobacco to smoke. He also entertained him as if he was guest and trusted him although he was a stronger.
Question 2 : Why did the crofter show the thirty kronor to the peddler?
Answer : The crofter showed the thirty kronor to the peddler just to share his joy of earning that much of money in a month. He also showed it to him as he suspected that his guest did not seem to believe what he had told him.
Question 3 : What hospitality did the peddler receive from the crofter?
Answer : The crofter received the peddler most warmly and offered him generous hospitality. He gave him porridge for supper and tobacco to smoke and played a game of cards with him. He also allowed him to stay at his home in the right.
Question 4 : Why was the peddler amused at the idea of the world being a rattrap?
Answer : The world had never been kind to the poor peddler. Therefore, he derived pleasure from thinking ill of the world and imagining it as being a big rattrap. He got amused to think of the people he knew who got caught in the rattrap and of others who were circling around the bait.
Question 5 : What brought about a change in the life of the peddler?
Answer : Elda’s kind and caring behaviour finally changed the peddler . she had treated him with love and respect befitting a captain , even after realising that he was poor peddler . the trust that Elda showed in him made him live a life with dignity and respect .
Question 6 : Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him alone?
Answer : The ironmaster mistook the peddler to be Nils Olof, his old regimental comrade. So, he spoke to him kindly. He invited him home as he and his daughter were alone and did not have any company for Christmas.
Question 7 : At the crofter’s home, why did the peddler feel very happy?
Answer : The peddler was received very warmly and given generous hospitality by the crofter. The crofter served him porridge, treated him kindly and the two smoked and played cards. All this made the peddler very happy.
Question 8 : In what sense was the world a big rattrap according to the peddler?
Answer : The peddler thought that the world only existed to set baits for the people. It offered riches, joys, shelter, food and clothing as the rattrap offered cheese and pork. As soon as one let himself to be tempted by the bait, it closed on him as a rattrap does.
Question 9 : Why did the peddler knock on the cottage by the roadside? How was he treated by the owner of the cottage?
Answer : The peddler knocked on the cottage by the roadside to seek shelter for the night. The owner of the cottage regarded the peddler as welcome company. He not only put him up for the night, but also offered him food and played cards with him.
Question 10 : Why did Edla plead with her father not to send the vagabond away?
Answer : Edla has always thought the peddler to be a poor, homeless tramp and didn’t feel cheated when his true identity was revealed. Instead, she felt very bad for him and pleaded on his behalf as she and her father had promised him Christmas cheer.
Question 11 : What conclusion did the ironmaster reach when he heard that the crofter had been robbed by the peddler?
Answer : When the ironmaster head that the crofter has been robbed by a peddler, who, no doubt, was the one he had sheltered, he at once concluded that the peddler would probably have stolen all his silverware in his absence, and run away.
Question 12 : What was the content of the letter written by the peddler to Edla?
Answer : The peddler wrote that he wanted to be nice to Edla as she had treated him nicely and like a captain. He further stated that he did not want her to be embarrassed by a thief at Christmas and requested her to return the money he had stolen to the crofter.
Question 13 : What were the contents of the package left by the peddler as Christmas gift for Edla Willmansson?
Answer : The package left by the peddler as a Christmas gift for Edla Willmansson comprised of a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten kronor notes in it, which the peddler had robbed from the crofter. It also contained a brief letter for Edla explaining the peddler’s conduct.
Question 14 : Why was the crofter happy when the peddler knocked on his door?
Answer : The crofter was very lonely and lived alone in a cottage. He did not have a wife or a child. He felt happy when the peddler knocked on his door as he thought that the peddler would give him company.
Question 15 : How was the crofter ‘generous with his confidences’ when he spoke to the peddler?
Answer : The crofter was generous with his confidences when he spoke to the peddler as he told him that his cow was his source of income. Moreover, he also informed him that last month he had received 30 kronors by selling the cow’s milk and even showed him his money.
Question 16 : What did the peddler do to keep his body and soul together?
Answer : The peddler used to sell rattraps which he made himself by using the material he got by begging at the stores or farms. As his business of selling rattraps was not profitable, he also resorted to begging and thievery to keep his body and soul together.
Question 17 : Why did the stranger not tell the ironmaster that he was Nils Olof?
Answer : The peddler did not den being Nils Olof, an old regimental comrade of the ironmaster. He thought that being the ironmaster’s old acquaintance might get him a few kronors from him.
Question 18 : Why did the peddler decline the invitation of the ironmaster?
Answer : The peddler declined the invitation of the ironmaster because he was carrying the money he had stolen from the crofter. He knew that if the ironmaster discovered his identity, he would hand him over to the police.
Question 19 : Who was the owner of Ramsjo iron mills? Why did he visit the mills at night?
Answer : The owner of the Ramsjo iron mills was an ex-army man and an ambitious and prominent ironmaster. He was very particular about the quality of his products, and visited the mills even at night to make sure that good iron was shipped out from his mills.
Question 20 : How did the ironmaster react on seeing the stranger lying close to the furnace?
Answer : When the ironmaster saw a stranger in rags lying close to the furnace, he went near him and removed his slouch hat to get a better view of his face. He mistook him to be Nils Olof, an old acquaintance of his regiment and was delighted to see him and invited him home for Christmas.
Question 21 : Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?
Answer : The old crofter was lonely and lead a dreary existence as he had no wife or children. He was talkative and friendly with the peddler as he got someone to talk to and share his thoughts.
Question 22 : Why was the peddler surprised when he knocked on the door of the cottage?
Answer : At the crofter’s cottage, the peddler was welcomed warmly. The peddler had never been treated kindly by the world. He was meted out cold treatment wherever he went. So he was pleasantly surprised when the crofter greeted him with warmth.
Question 23 : Why did the peddler keep to the woods after leaving the crofter’s cottage? How did he feel?
Answer : After stealing the money from the crofter, the peddler was cautious to avoid the public highway lest he be identified and caught. So, he got into the woods but as it was a big and confusing forest he got lost in it. That’s when he thought that he has become a victim of rattrap.
Question 24 : Did the stranger agree to go to the ironmaster’s house? Why or why not?
Answer : The stranger declined the ironmaster’s invitation to come to his house. He had stolen thirty kronors and thought it was like going into the lion’s den as he might get caught.
Question 25 : Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?
Answer : Edla felt very dejected when she came to know about the theft of the crofter’s money by the peddler, but the gift left behind, which consisted of a small rattrap and three wrinkled ten kronor notes, restored her faith in him. She felt happy because of her trust in him had been justified.
Question 26 : “Edla sat and hung her head even more dejectedly than usual.” Which two reasons forced her to behave in that manner?
Answer : Edla had shown kindness to the peddler even after knowing that he was not a captain. This was the reason why she felt all the more dejected. The other reason is that the peddler had disproved the faith which she had shown in him.
Question 27 : Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain won Stahle?
Answer : Edla had honoured and treated the peddler like a captain inspite of knowing the truth. His signing himself as Captain von Stahle shows that he wanted to retain the dignity and respect accorded to him.
Question 28 : Why did the peddler accept Edla’s invitation? How did he feel?
Answer : The peddler was moved by the compassion and courtesy shown by Edla. She requested him in such a friendly manner that he felt confidence in her. The peddler felt very assured and agreed to go at once with Edla.
Long Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120 – 150 Words)
Question 1 : The peddler believed that the whole world is a rattrap. How did he himself get caught in the same?
Answer : The peddler in the story ‘The Rattrap’ believed very strongly that this world was a big rattrap. It offered comforts and joys just like the rattrap offered food to a rat. As soon as a rat was tempted to touch the bait, it trapped him. In the same way the food, joys and shelter served as baits to tempt people and get trapped therafter in this world.
But one day he himself was caught in such a trap. One day when he sought refuge at a crofter’s house, he was treated very nicely by the old man. The old crofter showed him the money also which he had earned. All the crofter’s hospitality served as a bait for the peddler as, the next morning, he stole the money and fled into the forest. He got lost there. So the forest was a big rattrap into which he had fallen.
Question 2 : The peddler thinks that the whole world is a rattrap. This view of life is true only of himself and no one else in the story. Comment.
Answer : This view of life was true for the peddler because, when he was offered food and shelter at the crofter’s house, which is like ‘bait’ for a rat, he took it and stole the crofter’s money. He tried to run away from being caught but got lost in the forest as it was big and confusing. Thus he considered the world as a big rattrap in which he had fallen and the crofter’s money was the bait. Even the kindness of the ironmaster and his daughter did not make him optimistic about the world.
The other characters in the story, the crofter, the ironmaster and his daughter, are having human bonds of love, and so for them the world is not a rattrap. However, the peddler was lonely and thus felt that the world was a rattrap.
Question 3 : To be grateful is a great virtue of a gentleman. How did the peddler show his gratitude to Edla?
Answer : Edla knew that her father was mistaken when he invited the peddler home thinking he was his long lost friend. Later it was revealed that he was a complete stranger and not her father’s acquaintance. Despite this Edla begged her father not to send him away on Christmas eve. She invited him home and gave him food, shelter and clothes. Her kindness, compassion and sympathy brings out the goodness in the peddler. He leaves a packet for her as a Christmas gift which contains a rattrap and three ten kronor notes stolen from the crofter. It also contains a letter in which he signs himself as captain and requests her to return the stolen money to the crofter. This way the peddler showed his gratitude to Edla and Edla’s care and concern changes the peddler into a dignified gentleman.
Question 4 : The peddler declined the invitation of the ironmaster but accepted one from Edla. Why?
Answer : As the peddler had recently stolen the crofter’s money, he felt that the police would be on the lookout for him. If he accepted the ironmaster’s invitation to stay for a night at his home, he would probably have been found as a fake by the ironmaster, who had mistaken him to be his former colleague in the dim light of the furnace. Then he would have been arrested. So, he declined the ironmaster’s invitation.
But when Edla later on came to invite him again she was very kind to him and even though he did not look like her father’s former colleague to her, she spoke to him with compassion. She even told him that he can leave whenever he wished to. This gave confidence to the peddler that he would be safe in their house and so he accepted her invitation.
Question 5 : Edla proved to be much more persuasive than her father while dealing with the peddler. Comment.
Answer : Edla was more persuasive than her father, the ironmaster, because of her gentle compassionate behaviour towards the peddler and the kind manner in which she spoke. She even told him that he can leave whenever he wished to. This convinced the peddler to change his mind and accept her invitation to spend one evening with them. Although she had her misgivings about the peddler, she was happy to help a poor homeless man who had earlier been chased away by all. She wanted him to spend a day in peace and take part in the festivities of Christmas. She had been kind and friendly to him, sympathising with his condition, making him part of their family for a day. This act of kindness made the peddler change his ways and he left them with a Christmas present for Edla and also returned the money he had stolen from the crofter.
Question 6 : Why did the crofter repose confidence in the peddler? How did peddler betray that and with what consequence?
Answer : The crofter reposed confidence in the peddler because he was lonely and wanted someone with whom he could share his feelings. He trusted the peddler to the extent of showing him where he had kept his money.
The peddler betrayed this trust by robbing the money and running away. However, when the peddler went through the forest instead of the road to avoid being caught, he got lost and returned to the same place again and again. Ultimately the peddler realised that he was like a rat caught in the rattrap. The bait he had fallen for was the crofter’s money and he could not escape with it. Thus the consequences of falling for the bait were that he was trapped in the forest with no way out.
Question 7 : How did the peddler feel after robbing the crofter? What course did he adopt and how did he react to the new situation? What does this reaction reveal?
Answer : The crofter had treated the peddler with hospitality, and had even reposed his trust in the poor peddler. Still the peddler robbed him and was quite pleased with his smartness. However, the fear of getting caught haunted him. So, he avoided the public highway and turned into the woods. It as a big and confusing forest, and due to the approaching darkness, the peddler lost his way. He got exhausted moving around the same place, and was filled with despair. He began to feel that the forest was like a big rattrap and the thirty kronor he had stolen were like a bait set to tempt him.
His reaction reveals that he was feeling guilty for having stolen the crofter’s money. His heart was filled with remorse and self-loathing for his act of weakness. However ,his thoughts are perhaps also a way of justifying his crime.
Question 8 : How does the peddler respond to the hospitality shown to him by the crofter?
Answer : One dark evening when the peddler was walking along the road he knocked on the door of a cottage to seek shelter for the night. To his surprise, he was welcomed by an old man, the crofter, who lived alone in the cottage. The lonely crofter was happy to find a man with whom he could talk to. He served the peddler supper, gave him tobacco and played a game of cards with him. The old crofter then went to the window and took down a leather pouch. He showed three then kronor notes to the peddler and put them back. This provided a big bait for the peddler who was tempted to steal the notes. The peddler unwillingly allowed himself to be tempted to touch the bait. He stole the money and thus committed a breach of trust. So he betrayed the confidence reposed in him by his host and realised that he was himself caught in a rattrap.
Question 9 : Given his temperament, Edla’s father would have failed in reforming the peddler. How did Edla succeed?
Answer : Unlike her father, Edla was a compassionate, sympathetic and understanding girl and because of these virtues she succeeded in reforming the peddler. The ironmaster, on the other hand, is impulsive and whimsical. He invites the stranger to his house without confirming the latter’s identity and as soon as the peddler’s true identity is revealed he decided to refer the whole matter to the sheriff. But Edla continued to be nice and hospitable to him and did not turn him out of their house on Christmas Eve. She treated the peddler like a real captain and he too behaved like one. She thus awakened the potential goodness of his heart and before leaving the manor house he left behind a rattrap as a Christmas gift for Edla and they money he had stolen from the crofter’s cottage alongwith a letter in which he confessed his crime and requested Edla to return the thirty kronors to the old crofter.
Question 10 : Describe the peddler’s interaction with the ironmaster’s daughter. To what extent was he influenced by her?
Answer : The peddler first meets Edla Willmansson, the ironmaster’s daughter when on her father’s insistence, she comes to invite the peddler to their manor house for Christmas. He was so touched by the sincerity in her voice that he could not refuse her invitation. Later, she comes to know of the peddler’s real identity but it does not change her warmth, friendliness and hospitality towards him. She continues to treat him like a captain and the peddler quite spontaneously, starts behaving like a real captain. He leaves a rattrap as a Christmas gift for Edla and encloses a letter of thanks and a note of confession in it. He also leaves behind the stolen money to be restored to its rightful owner, the crofter, thus redeeming himself from his dishonest ways. Edla Willmansson’s sympathy, compassion and understanding gave the peddler an opportunity to redeem and reform himself.
Question 11 : Describe the crofter’s interaction with the peddler. How did the latter get tempted?
Answer : When the peddler knocked on the door of the crofter’s cottage he was greeted by the lonely old man who was just too happy to see someone to talk to. He served the peddler with extreme hospitality and even played cards with him. He also shared his confidence with the peddler by telling him that he had been a crofter at Ramsjo Ironworks during his days of prosperity and now his cow supported him. He also told him that last month he had received thirty kronors in payment for the cow milk he had sold. He even showed the peddler the leather pouch on the window where he had kept the thirty kronors thus tempting the peddler. The next day the peddler after leaving the crofter’s cottage came back there again, smashed the window pane, stuck in his hand and got hold of the pouch that contained the thirty kronors. Then hanging the leather pouch back very carefully, he went away.
Question 12 : ‘The Rattrap’, highlights the impact of compassion and understanding on the hidden goodness in human beings. Substantiate with evidence from the story.
Answer : The theme of the story ‘The Rattrap’ is that most human beings are prone to fall into the trap of material benefit. However, love and understanding can transform a person and bring out his essential human goodness. The peddler had been treated very cruelly by the world. So even though the old crofter was kind and hospitable to him, he betrayed his trust and stole thirty kronors from him. He was not impressed by the ironmaster’s invitation. But Edla Willmansson’s compassion and understanding brought out a transformation in his nature. Her human qualities helped in raising him to be gentleman. He was easily able to overcome petty temptations. The peddler who always considered the whole world to be a rattrap finally felt released from this rattrap due to the sympathetic, kind and generous treatment of Edla that was able to bring out his basic human goodness.
Question 13 : How are the attitudes of the ironmaster and his daughter different? Support your answer from the text.
Answer : The character of the ironmaster was very different from that of his daughter. He was an ambitious and arrogant man. When he saw the peddler, he mistook him for his old regimental comrade, and invited him for home, but this was more out of his sense of pride than out of Sympathy or generosity.
When the ironmaster realised that he had been mistaken, he called the peddler dishonest and threatened to call the sheriff. Later when he learnt that the peddler was a thief, he was worried about his own silverware.
On the other hand, Edla, the ironmaster’s daughter, was a kind and compassionate lady who was really sympathetic and considerate towards the peddler right from the beginning. She treated him with respect and dignity even after knowing that he was not a captain. It was her generous attitude which finally changed the peddler, bringing out essential goodness of his nature.
Question 14 : The story, ‘The Rattrap’ is both entertaining and philosophical. Do you agree with this statement? Why? Why not?
Answer : The story, ‘The Rattrap’ is indeed, both entertaining and philosophical. The fast-paced narrative in the third person, generous use of dialogue by the author and different characters belonging to different mindsets and locales make the story interesting and entertaining. Besides, the author has managed to keep up the suspense till the end.
The incident in the forge, with the ironmaster coming at midnight, hold our attention. The peddler’s continuous refusals to the ironmaster to accompany him, but his accepting Edla’s invitation in one go, the ironmaster’s realisation of his mistake, and Edla’s sympathy and generosity, all make the story quite gripping.
While all the above events make the story interesting, there is also an element of philosophy in the story. Somewhere, the peddler’s theory of the world being a rattrap is true. One feels caught up like a rat in the entrappings of the world. Some people fall into this trap never to come out of it again. The story teaches us that, as human beings, we are not above temptations.
Question 15 : The story focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others. Explain.
Answer : All the characters in the story suffer from loneliness and are dull souls. First of all, the tramp appears to lead a sad, monotonous existence, left to his own thinking. He is always greeted by sour faces and cold words. The old crofter’s fate has been somewhat kinder to him. Bereft of his wife and children, he lives all alone in a cottage by the roadside, and is rather happy to have visitors around. We also have the ironmaster and his daughter, Edla, who have no company for Christmas as the ironmaster’s wife is dead and his sons are settled abroad.
He, with his daughter, are happy to play hosts for his friend. Thus, all of them are having a strong desire for bonding and comradeship. The crofter is happy to be friends with the peddler, although only for a night. It is the bonding with the ironmaster’s daughter that transforms the peddler. The love, understanding and dignity that he gets from the girl makes him leave his dishonest ways and redeem himself.
Question 16 : Why did the ironmaster’s invitation to the peddler to spend Christmas Eve with him make him think that he was going to fall into a trap?
Answer : The peddler did not think very kindly of the world and its people. For him the world was a big rattrap which trapped people. The world has been rather unkind to him, so he felt happy to think ill about it. He felt the riches and joys were just baits to tempt people and once one was tempted to touch the bait, the rattrap closed on him. The ironmaster’s invitation to the peddler to spend Christmas Eve with him was like a trap. He felt he was being trapped into the lion’s den. The peddler was aware that the ironmaster had mistaken him for an old acquaintance and so he had invited him to his house on Christmas Eve. He thought that he would easily get caught with the stolen money if he stayed at the ironmaster’s house.
Value Based Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120-150 Words)
Question 1 : There is a saying “Kindness pays, rudeness never.” In the story, ‘The Rattrap’ Edla’s attitude towards men and matters is different from her father’s attitude. How are the values of concern and compassion brought out in the story, ‘The Rattrap’?
Answer : ‘The Rattrap’ is a story of a peddler who used to earn his living by selling small rattraps made of wire. Since his business was not profitable, he resorted to begging and petty thievery. Nobody treated him with kindness and respect. The first act of compassion towards him was shown by the crofter who gave him shelter. But the peddler stole his money and ran away.
Later, he was invited to stay for Christmas at the ironmaster’s house due to the persuasion of the daughter of the ironmaster. She not only requested her father to let the peddler stay for Christmas, but also treated him like a real captain. The peddler was highly touched by this act of compassion and before leaving the house, left the money he had stolen from the crofter. This shows that goodness is latent in the human heart which can be brought out by concern and compassion.
Question 2 : Every human being is endowed with some positive characteristic or beauty of heart, and that comes out automatically when the time comes. Similarly, both the tramp and the daughter exchange the beauty of their hearts at the right time. How?
Answer : During his stay at the house of the ironmaster, the peddler had an opportunity to steal the Christmas gifts and other silver articles but he stole nothing. Rather, he presented a Christmas gift to the ironmaster’s daughter on Christmas.
Although the ironmaster never wanted the tramp to stay at his house, his daughter, Edla, was compassionate and wanted him to stay. She realised his misery and loneliness and wanted him to have some peace and happniess on Christmas eve. The peddler was so touched by her behaviour that he could no more practice his deceiving ways which had become so much a part of him. He not only returned the stolen money but also left a small rattrap as a gift for Edla. Thus the peddlar displayed the beauty of his heart by presenting a gift to the ironmaster’s daughter while she displayed it by giving shelter to the peddler.