English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap Free Solution of Textbook Questions and Answers


(Text Book Questions & Answers)

Think as you read

Q 1. From where did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?

Answer: Once the peddler was thinking about his rattraps. Suddenly an idea came to his mind that in this world everybody is running to achieve happiness, shelter, food and richness. This is exactly similar to the bait put in a rattrap. So he concluded that the whole world is a rattrap.

Q 2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Answer: The world had never been kind to him. He imagined that the world is running after happiness, joy, food and shelter. So everybody was trapped in a rattrap. This thought gave him an unwonted joy. He was therefore amused to think that the whole world was a rattrap.



Q 3. Did the peddler expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter?

Answer: The peddler was used to people making sour faces at him. But the crofter gave him food. He played cards with him and talked a lot to him. He allowed him to stay at his cottage in night.

The peddler had not expected that kind of hospitality.

Q 4. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?

Answer: The crofter was living alone in the cottage. He was feeling very lonely. Therefore the crofter was happy to have someone to talk to in his loneliness.



Q 5. Why did he show the thirty kroner to the peddler?

Answer: The crofter had told the peddler that he had received thirty kroner recently. Crofter thought that the peddler did not believe this.

To assure the peddler  that he was speaking truth about the money, the crofter showed  money to him.

Q 6. Did the peddler respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?

Answer: The crofter had shown money to the peddler innocently. The peddler stole the money the crofter had shown to him.

Thus the peddler did not respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter.

Q 7. What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rattrap?

Answer: After stealing money from the crofter, the peddler had fear of getting caught. So he tried to escape through the forest. But he lost his way. He was walking around the same place.

At this juncture the peddler thought that he had fallen into a rattrap.

Q 8. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

Answer: At the forge, the ironmaster made a mistake in recognizing the peddler as his old regimental comrade. He was sad to see his poor conditions. He wanted to help him. 

Thus the ironmaster behaved kindly with the peddler.

Q 9. Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Answer: The peddler knew that he was not the old comrade of ironmaster. He was worried about the money he had stolen from the crofter. He thought going to house of ironmaster could be like entering a lion’s den.

Because he was afraid, he declined the invitation.

Q 10. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?

Answer: Edla had talked to the peddler with compassion. She told him that they would like to have him at the house just for the Christmas Eve. She had assured him that he would be allowed to leave freely whenever he wanted.

Basis above assurance, the peddler accepted the invitation.

Q 11. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Answer: When Edla met the peddler near the furnace, she noticed that he was frightened. She thought that either he had stolen something or had run away from prison. She had a doubt if the peddler was an educated person.

Q 12. When did the ironmaster realise his mistake?

Answer: Next morning the tramp had taken bath, had a haircut and shaved his beard. He was wearing the suit of the ironmaster. So dressed up he came to the dining room. Now the ironmaster realized his mistake.

Q 13. What did the peddler say in his defence when it was clear that he was not the person the ironmaster had thought he was?

Answer: Peddler told that he had never pretended to be Captain von Stahle. The peddler told that he never wanted to come to his home. First the ironmaster and later his daughter insisted him to come to their home.

So it was not his fault.

Q 14. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Answer: Edla was a very sympathetic lady. She thought they had invited the peddler to stay with them for the Christmas Eve. Therefore it would be improper to send him away without giving him feast of the festival.

Therefore Edla decided to entertain the peddler.

Q 15. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?

Answer: Leaving a gift for Edla meant that peddler was now a changed person. Edla felt relieved and happy to note that her sympathy had brought about such a good change in the peddler. Now she will not be blamed for giving shelter to a thief. Rather she will be appreciated for bring about change in a person.

Q 16. Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle?

Answer: The peddler was invited into the house as Captain von Stahle. But actually he was a petty seller and a thief. Owing to the kindness and hospitality of Edla the peddler was a changed person. He wanted to communicate this change to Edla. Hence he signed the letter as Captain von Stahle.

Understanding the text

Q 1. How does the peddler interpret the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the ironmaster and his daughter?

Answer: Peddler thought that the crofter welcomed him because he was alone. Crofter wanted to have someone to whom he could talk to.

The ironmaster had thought of the peddler as one of his old colleague. Feelings of ironmaster had the limitation of an old acquaintance.

The peddler considered Edla a truly kind and compassionate lady. He was so much affected by her that he became a changed person. He indicated this change by signing the letter as captain von stahle.

Q 2. What are the instances in the story that show that the character of the ironmaster is different from that of his daughter in many ways?

Answer: The ironmaster had wrongly recognized the peddler as his old comrade. Edla had recognized him as a person who had either stolen something or had run away from jail. So the judgement of daughter was better.

The ironmaster could not bring the peddler to their home. Edla was able to convince the peddler to come to home. So Edla had better power of persuasion.

When ironmaster understood his mistake, he wanted to handover the peddler to Sheriff. But Edla conducted herself with sympathy and asked the peddler to remain there for Christmas. She also told the peddler that he can keep the dress he was wearing. This shows that ironmaster was of impulsive character while his daughter was full of kindness.

Elda was very happy to receive the gift from the peddler while ironmaster did not express anything. She was happier to note that the person had changed for good. Thus the daughter had emotions but her father did not have any emotions.

Q 3. The story has many instances of unexpected reactions from the characters to others’ behaviour. Pick out instances of these surprises.

Answer: The peddler was used to people making sour faces at him. Hospitality of the crofter was a surprise to him.

The crofter had showed lot of confidence on the tramp while showing his currency notes. But the peddler did not respect confidence of his host and stole the money. This was a surprise to crofter.

The peddler did not agree to the request of the ironmaster. But he agreed to the request of his daughter. This was a surprise to ironmaster. Both blacksmiths were also surprised that Peddler was going to the house ironmaster.

When ironmaster realized that the tramp was not his colleague, it was surprise to him.

Ironmaster wanted to hand over the tramp to Sheriff. The peddler had not expected such turn of events. So it was a surprise to peddler.

Ironmaster wanted to hand over the tramp to Sheriff. But the daughter interceded and stopped the peddler going away on Christmas. This was a big surprise to the peddler.

Peddler left the house of ironmaster without stealing anything.  It was a surprise to father and daughter.

Towards end of the story, the peddler had changed for the good. He left a gift for Edla. He left the stolen money to Edla with a request to return to the crofter.  This was a surprise to Edla and ironmaster.

The peddlat had signed the letter as Captain von Stahle. This was a surprise to Edla and ironmaster. 

Q 4. What made the peddler finally change his ways?

Answer: When ironmaster realized his mistake, he wanted to hand over the peddler to Sheriff. Edla interceded and stopped his father. She asked the peddler to stay with them till Christmas Eve. She offered him good food and gifted him the suit of his father. She also invited him for the next Christmas.

The peddler was deeply impressed by her kindness and hospitality. This changed his heart and he became a better person.

Q 5. How does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament?

Answer: Most of the human beings are engaged in acquiring wealth, comfort and other pleasures. It becomes very difficult to come out of such a race. On one side human beings chase for these worldly things, on other hand they miss happiness and togetherness. The worldly pleasure serves as bait and people get trapped circling around these. It actually becomes a vicious circle. This is the predicament of human life.

Q 6. The peddler comes out as a person with a subtle sense of humour. How does this serve in lightening the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endear him to us?

Answer: The peddler used to roam around in the country selling rattraps. One day he started thinking that human beings are running after worldly pleasures and wealth. And they are not able to come out of their pursuit. Thus he called the whole world as a rattrap. This thought amused him a lot.

This is the only situation through which peddler derives some kind of humour.

Talking about the text

Discuss the following in groups of four. Each group can deal with one topic. Present the views of your group to the wholeclass.

Q 1. The reader’s sympathy is with the peddler right from the beginning of the story. Why is this so? Is the sympathy justified?

Answer: The peddler was extremely poor. He used to sell rattraps made out of wire. It was difficult for him to make two ends meet. He was forced to beg and indulge in theft. He did not have home. He used to sleep along the road. Because of his poor living condition the peddler earns sympathy. This is during initial part of the story.

During middle of the story, an old crofter gave him shelter at his home. He was given good hospitality. The crofter showed confidence in him. He even showed his money to peddler. However when peddler betrays the trust and steals money of the old crofter, he losses sympathy.

In the later part of the story, the ironmaster threatens him to hand over to Sheriff. There was no fault of the peddler. Once again sympathy is generated for him.

Lastly, he changes for the good and leaves a gift for Edla. He left the stolen money for Edla with a request to return it to the crofter. This act certainly earns lot of sympathy towards peddler.

Therefore, except on one occasion, sympathy of the reader is always with the peddler.

Q 2. The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others.

Answer: The peddler was all alone in the world. He did not know anybody with whom he could interact. He had been moving from one place to another. He had become used to seeing sour faces of people.

It is very clear that the crofter was living alone. He was so eager to talk to a person in his loneliness that he extended excellent hospitality to his guest.

The ironmaster was living without his wife and his sons. One is inclined to conclude that he was not lonely because his daughter was living with her. But his eagerness to extend hospitality to his old comrade indicates that he was feeling lonely to some extent.

Edla appears to be not having any company at all. Her thought process was very much different from that of her father. It is doubtful if she talked much with her father. Thus she was certainly lonely in her house.

Thus throughout the story, loneliness of various characters has been brought about.

Q 3. Have you known/heard of an episode where a good deed or an act of kindness has changed a person’s view of the world?

Answer: Students should answer this question themselves.

Q 4. The story is both entertaining and philosophical.

Answer: The story has been narrated quite nicely. There are interesting situations in the story. The dialogues are precise and invite attention of the reader. The full story has been nicely woven together. Some elements of surprises have been built into the story. Moreover the story ends on a happy note. All these make the story quite interesting.

The aspect of rattrap has been philosophically connected to the pursuit of worldly pleasure. World offers so many temptations or baits, that we may fall into its trap any day. The peddler’s attempt to curse the ironmaster brings another philosophical attitude. The kindness and hospitality by Edla on the Christmas Eve highlights yet another part of philosophy. And finally, the impact of kindness to change a person is clearly magnified.

Thus the story is entertaining as well as philosophical.

Working with words

Q 1. The man selling rattraps is referred to by many terms such as “peddler, stranger” etc. Pick out all such references to him. What does each of these labels indicate of the context or the attitude of the people around him?

Label Context
Vagabond *Used to describe his nomadic life
Stranger *Used by the crofter because the peddler was not known to him
*Used by the ironmaster when he sees him in the forge. He had not seen his face yet
*Used by Edla and ironmaster when he was at their home. This was after ironmaster realised his mistake. Now he was a stranger to them.
Guest *Used by the crofter after he had allowed him to stay at his cottage
*Used when he was at the house of ironmaster because they had invited him
Peddler *Used to describe him as a seller of rattraps
Intruder *Used to describe when he entered the forge without permission
Tramp *Used to describe his nomadic life
Ragamuffin *Used by the ironmaster when he sees him at the forge to describe his poor appearance
Old acquaintance *Used by the ironmaster when he recognises him as a person known to him
Old regimental comrade *Used by the ironmaster when he recognises him as his colleague in the regiment
Poor trader *He uses it for himself while replying to ironmaster
Poor hungry wretch *Edla uses this description to describe his condition
Rat *He uses it for himself in the letter written to Edla

Q 2. You came across the words, plod, trudge, and stagger in the story. These words indicate movement accompanied by weariness. Find five other such words with a similar meaning.

Answer: Some other words are tromp, wade, stroll, wander, roam, trek, patrol and hike

Noticing form

1. He made them himself at odd moments.

2. He raised himself.

3. He had let himself be fooled by a bait and had been caught.

4. … a day may come when you yourself may want to get a big piece of pork.

Notice the way in which these reflexive pronouns have been used (pronoun+self)

• In 1 and 4 the reflexive pronouns “himself” and “yourself” are used to convey emphasis.

• In 2 and 3 the reflexive pronoun is used in place of personal pronoun to signal that it refers to the same subject in the sentence.

• Pick out other examples of the use of reflexive pronouns from the story and notice how they are used.

Example Use
Let himself in Refers to the same subject
He had let himself be fooled Refers to the same subject
Only to warm himself Refers to the same subject
He laughed to himself Refers to the same subject
Better powers that he himself For emphasis
He could not bring himself to oppose her Refers to the same subject
You would bother with me yourself For emphasis
When you yourself want to get a big piece For emphasis

Thinking about language

1. Notice the words in bold in the following sentence.

“The fire boy shovelled charcoal into the maw of the furnace with a great deal of clatter”. This is a phrase that is used in the specific context of an iron plant.

Pick out other such phrases and words from the story that are peculiar to the terminology of ironworks.

Words / Phrase Meaning
Smelter, rolling mill and forge Parts of iron mill
Pig iron Form of iron
Big bellows groaned Sound of air
Burning coal cracked Sound of burning coal



Important Links
The Rattrap – Explanation The Rattrap – Extra Q&A
Deep Water – Explanation Indigo – Explanation
Deep Water – Textbook Q&A Indigo – Textbook Q&A
Deep Water – Extra Q&A Indigo – Extra Q&A
Passages Note Making
Letter Writing Notice Writing
Advertisement Writing Article Writing
Report Writing




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