Short Summary – The Rattrap
The narrative opens with a rattrap vendor who is in rough shape. He appears to have been hungry and is dressed in rags. He doesn’t have a home, and he often even steals and begs in order to survive. He lives a lonely lifestyle with no one who is interested in him. He suddenly realises that the entire universe is a rattrap one fine day. If we touch it, it will catch us and keep us there forever. He continues by suggesting that there are those out there already trapped in this snare and reaching for the bait. He approaches a cottage one frosty evening to request shelter. The peddler was sheltered in the cottage by an elderly crofter.
The crofter welcomed the vendor since he was lonely. He even provides him tobacco to smoke as he eats decent food. They begin talking while playing cards. The peddler discovers that the crofter, who keeps his cow in a sling on the window frame, received 30 kronor for selling it. The peddler goes the following day, but returns to steal the money bag after observing the crofter leave his home.
He steals it and then escapes into the woods to remain undetected. The peddler finds an ironmaster in the woods who assumes he is an old friend. He declined his offer to come over for Christmas. After that, Edla, the ironmaster’s niece, comes to see him and begs him to stay. In the meantime, he regrets taking the crofter’s money. They help the street vendor in getting dressed nicely, giving him a makeover, and shaving off his beard. The ironmaster then realises his blunder, that the peddler was not his comrade.
As a result, the ironmaster decides to expose him for fraud. Edla is anxious that he be allowed to stay and spend Christmas with them. Their joint Christmas celebration includes her father’s approval. The ironmaster and Edla discover the next day through the church that the peddler responsible for the incident at the old crofter’s was actually a thief. They quickly leave because they assume he must have stolen all the silver.
They were shocked to learn that the peddler didn’t actually steal anything. He left a tiny rattrap-shaped note for Edla. Furthermore, there was a note praising her for her kindness in rescuing him from the rattrap he had become trapped in. Most significantly, he wrote a note requesting for the crofter’s money to be returned.
About The Author
The works of Swedish poet Selma Lagerlof (1858–1940) have been translated into other languages. There is a common thread that unites them all: the conviction that love and understanding can awaken a person’s natural goodness.
In conclusion, The Rattrap summary shows us that kindness and compassion may improve the world. It also teaches us that love and respect are the only things that truly offer inner joy, not economic possessions.