English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
Author: Selma Logerlof
|Keep body and soul together||Survive, Earn just enough for living|
|Hunger gleamed in his eyes||Appeared hungry, Malnutritioned|
|Plods along the road||Lives on side of road, Walks along the road|
|Unwonted joy||Unusual happiness, Special Happiness|
|Impenetrable prison||Situation of no escape|
|Nodded a haughty consent||Gave approval arrogantly|
|Eased his way||Made himself comfortable|
|Fallen into a line of thought||Imagined a new thought|
|Things have gone downhill||To become worse|
|Rattrap||A device to catch rats|
Once upon a time a man used to make small rattraps. He made these during strange time of the day. These were made of wire. He used to roam around to sell these. He used to beg for the material in stores or at big farms.
|Even so||Yet, Still|
|Resort to||Forced to adopt, Has to do|
|Keep body and soul together||Earn for living, To remain alive|
|Hunger gleamed in his eyes||Appeared hungry, Malnutritioned|
Though he got material free, still his business of selling rattrap did not give him enough money. So he had to beg and do minor thefts to make his living. Yet his cloths were torn. His cheeks were sunk, he appeared hungry or malnutritioned.
|Vagabong||One who has no home and wanders, Nomad|
|Plods along the road||Lives on side of road,|
Life of the rattrap maker was sad and dull. He did not have a home. He used to walk along the road and live on side of road. Mostly he was busy in his own thoughts. (Meaning that his thoughts were not affected by anyone. He had no one to talk to)
|Fallen into a line of thought||Imagined a new thought|
One day a new thought came to his mind. This new thought appeared very pleasant to him.
|Struck by an idea||A new thought came|
As usual, he was thinking about his rattraps. Suddenly a new thought came to him. He thought that the whole world was a big rattrap. Meaning that all the people are trapped in this world. The world exists to tempt people into doing something.
|Pork||Meat of pig|
The world gives us many pleasures like money, happiness, home, food, clothes etc. This is similar to a rattrap having cheese and pork to tempt rats. As soon as a person tries to get any of the pleasure of the world, he gets trapped to obtain more such pleasures. Then he is not able to come out of ever increasing desire.
|Unwonted joy||Unusual happiness, Special happiness|
|Think ill||Think bad|
Certainly the world was not kind to him. (Meaning that he had lot of difficulties in his life) Therefore this thought gave him special happiness to think bad about the world.
This became his favourite thought to pass his time during his dull and boring walks. He used to think of people known to him, who were caught in the dangerous trap of the world. He also used to think of people who were still moving around the temptations. (Meaning they had not fully decided to get tempted but were about get into the trap)
|Dark evening||Late evening when it had become dark|
|Trudging||Walking with difficulty|
|Caught sight of||Saw|
|To ask shelter||To request for a stay|
One day it became dark in the evening and he was still walking with difficulty along the road. He saw a small hut of gray colour. He knocked at the door and requested permission to stay there. He was given the permission
|Sour faces||Bad tempered|
Normally rattrap maker used to meet bad tempered persons. But owner of this cottage was happy to receive him. The owner was an old person. He lived there alone. He did not have his wife or children at the cottage. He was happy to receive rattrap maker so that he could talk to him to remove his loneliness.
|Porridge||A dish of oatmeal|
|Mjolis||A game of playing cards|
Immediately the cottage owner started cooking porridge. He have dinner to the rattrap maker. Then he cut a big piece of tobacco from a roll. With this rattrap maker and the cottage owner each could smoke their pipes. Then, till bed time, they played a game ‘mjolis’ with playing cards.
|Crofter||A farmer working on a rented filed|
The old man (owner of cottage) voluntarily told him many of his secrets. This was similar to giving shelter and lot of food to his guest. Rattrap maker was informed that in past the cottage owner was a rich person. He had taken a piece of land on rent at Ramsjo Ironworks. He used to live and do farming on that land.
|Labour||To do hard work|
|Creamery||Factory that makes cheese and butter|
|Kronor||Currency of Sweden|
Now the crofter was not able to do hard work. His cow was supporting him. He says that his cow is extraordinary. She gives milk every day. He sells it to creamery. Last month he had received thirty Kronor from the creamery.
|Wrinkled||Having many folds, Crumpled|
The old man thought that guest did not believe him, Because of this reason, the owner of the house went to the window. He took down a leather puoch. This was hanging on a nail on the window frame. He took out three ten Kronor notes from the pouch and showed to the rattrap maker. These were folded at many places.
|Held up before eyes||Showed|
The old man showed these currency notes to his guest. Then he put these back into the pouch.
|Good season||Early in the morning|
Next day both men got up early in the morning. The crofter wanted to milk his cow early. The other man probably did not want to sleep longer than his host. So the rattrap maker also got up early.
Both the men came out of cottage together. The crofter locked the cottage and kept key with him. The rattrap maker thanked his host and said good bye to him. Each of them went on their way.
After about half an hour, the rattrap seller reached the cottage again. He did not try to get into the cottage.
He went to the window. He broke the pane of the window. He put his hand into the window. Caught the pouch. He took out the money, put money into his own pocket. Then he carefully put back the pouch at its place and went away. (He has stolen the money of the crofter.)
|Dared not||Did not have courage|
He was very happy with his smartness to walk away with money in his pocket. He did not have the courage to continue his walk along the road. So he turned away from road and started walking through the jungle.
Initially he did not have any difficulty in walking in the jungle. But later during the day he started facing problems. Because the forest was big and he got confused. He had lost his way.
He tried to walk in only one particular direction. But the way was twisting in all directions. He found it very strange. (He could not find the correct path to cross the jungle)
He walked to a great distance. But the jungle did not end. Finally he understood that he had been walking around the same portion of the jungle.
Suddenly he remembered his thoughts that the world is a rattrap. He understood that it is now his turn to get caught in the rattrap of the world. He thought that he was a fool to get tempted and get caught in a rattrap.
|Thickets||Dense group of buses or trees|
|Logs||Big pieces of wood|
|Closed in upon him||Surrounded him|
|Impenetrable prison||Situation of no escape|
The forest was having big trees, group of bushes and big pieces of wood. These surrounded him like a prison. He thought he would never be able to come out of the forest.
|darkness descending||Becoming dark|
It was towards end of December month. It had already started becoming dark in the forest. Now it became more dangerous to be in the jungle. The rattrap maker was becoming more sad and hopeless.
|Sank down||Sit or lie due to exhaustion or hopelessness|
|Tired to death||Very tired|
|Sound of thumping||Sound of some heavy thing hitting other thing|
He could not find any way to come out of the forest. He sat on the ground – exhausted and with no hope. He was very tired. He thought that his last moment had come. (Meaning he will die in the forest). As soon as he put his head on the ground, he could hear some sound. It was sound of some heavy thing hitting another thing.
He was sure about type of that sound. From laying on the ground he sat up. These were the sounds of a hammer striking iron in an iron mill. He thought that there must be people nearby. He gathered all his strength. He got up. And started walking unsteadily in the direction of sound.
|Heavily loaded||Filled with large quantity|
|Barges||Type of boat|
|Scows||Type of boat|
|Inland lake||A lake not connected to sea|
|Sifted down||Fell down|
The Ramsjo Ironworks during those days was a large factory. It is closed now. The plant had various sections like smelter, rolling mill and a forge. During summer season loaded boats moved material in the canal. The canal was connected to a lake. In the winter season lot of coal used to come to the factory. The road used to become black because of coal dust falling on the road from trucks.
|Master smith||Main worker|
|Pig iron||Raw iron|
|Anvil||A heave block on which iron is hammered|
It was long and dark evening just before the Christmas. The main worker and his helper were sitting in the forge near the furnace. They were heating the pig iron in the furnace. They were waiting for pig iron to become hot. It was to put on the anvil for hammering.
|Every now and then||Occasionally|
|Stir||Move or change position|
Occasionally, one of them went near the furnace to stir the shining mass of pig iron. They used to return in a few seconds. Lot of sweat used to come from their body. As per the practice, they were wearing only a shirt and wooden shoes.
|Bellows||Bags of air|
|Groaned||Type of sound|
|Cracked||Sound of something cracking|
|Fire boy||Person who keeps fire burning|
|Shovelled||Threw using a shovel|
|Whipped the rain||Threw rain droplets|
Many types of sounds were coming from the forge section of plant. The big air bags were making sound as if they were suffering pain. The burning of coal made a sound of cracking. The fire-boy was throwing coal in the furnace using a shovel. It produced the sound of clatter. Outside the furnace a waterfall was making a huge sound. Wind coming from North direction was throwing water in the form of rain drops on the floor. The floor was tiled with bricks.
|On account of||Because of|
Probably because of so many noises, the blacksmith (master smith) did not know that a person had opened the gate. That person had entered the forge and was standing very near to the furnace. Then the blacksmith saw him. That man was the rattrap maker.
|Vagabond||Tramp, Person without home|
|Soot||Black fine particles|
|Sooty||Blackish because of soot|
It was certainly usual for people without homes to come to the forge. They were attracted to the forge by the shine of the light. The light went through the blackish panes of the factory. They used to come to the forge to keep themselves warm during winter season.
|Indifferently||Without sympathy or interest|
|Intruder||Who comes without permission|
|Ragged||Wearing torn cloths|
The blacksmith looked casually and without any sympathy to the person who had come without permission. The rattrap maker looked like a typical tramp. He had a long beard, he was dirty, wearing torn cloths. A group of rattraps were hanging around his chest.
|Nodded a haughty consent||Gave approval arrogantly|
The vagabond requested the blacksmith to permit him to stay there. The blacksmith arrogantly gave him permission by signal of his head. He did speak any word. The tramp also did not speak. He had not come there to talk. He had come there to keep himself warm and to sleep.
|Prominent||Famous, Well known|
At that time, owner of Ramsjo iron mill was a famous ironmaster. His biggest desire was to make iron of best quality and send to the market.
He inspected works of his factory during day and also at night. He wanted the work to be done in best possible manner. After arrival of tramp, the owner came to the forge on his inspection round of night.
|Ragamuffin||Person wearing torn cloths|
|Eased his way||Came or reached comfortably|
|Hardly deigned||Did not consider appropriate|
Obviously, the ironmaster saw the person who was wearing torn cloths. The tramp was sleeping comfortably very close to the furnace. He was so close to the furnace that steam was rising from his wet clothes. The blacksmith had not considered it appropriate to talk to the tramp. But the ironmaster did not consider so.
|Slouch hat||Type of hat|
The ironmaster walked near to the tramp. He looked at the tramp carefully. Then he removed the hat of the tramp to look at his face. The ironmaster was surprised. He was sure that the tramp was Nils Olof. The ironmaster told the tramp that he was looking very bad. The ironmaster mistook the tramp as his old friend.
|Throw him||Give him|
The tramp had never seen the ironmaster. The tramp did not know name of ironmaster. But tramp thought that this gentleman understands that he was a person known to him since olden days. The tramp thought that this person might give him some money.
|Undeceive||Tell the truth|
|Things have gone downhill||Conditions have become bad|
Therefore the tramp did not want to remove doubt of ironmaster immediately. He said that situation had become difficult for him.
|Regiment||A unit of army|
The ironmaster said to the tramp that he should not have resigned from army. That was his mistake. If the ironmaster had been in the army at that time, then that would have never happened. (Meaning that ironmaster would not have allowed him to resign.) He further says to the tramp that now he should come to his home.
|Manor house||Farm house|
The tramp did not like the idea of going to the farmhouse of ironmaster. He did not want the ironmaster to treat him as an old colleague of the regiment. So the tramp refused to go with him. He was taking precautions.
|Lion’s den||Place where lion lives, Something dangerous|
|Walking into lion’s den||Enter into a trouble|
|Sneak away||Go away|
|Inconspicuously||Without getting noticed|
The tramp was worried about his thirty kronor. He thought that by going to the farmhouse he could get into some trouble. The tramp wanted to sleep in the forge. Then go away from there without getting noticed.
The ironmaster thought that the tramp was ashamed of his poor clothes.
The ironmaster told tramp that he should not think the house is very good and he cannot come there. He said that Elizabeth had died. The tramp might have heard. (Elizabeth was wife of ironmaster). My sons live in foreign countries. Only I and my eldest daughter live in the house.
The ironmaster explained that they did not have any company for Christmas. They were sad about it. He requested the tramp to come to their home and eat food prepared on the occasion of Christmas.
But the tramp repeatedly said no. Now ironmaster understood that he will need to stop requesting the tramp.
Name of the blacksmith is Stjernstrom. The ironmaster said to blacksmith that Captain von Stahle likes to stay with him tonight. And then he turned back. (Captain von Stahle was the name of his colleague in the regiment)
The ironmaster laughed while he went away. The blacksmith knew habit of the ironmaster. So he understood that the ironmaster will surely do something more.
Within half an hour there was a sound of a carriage outside the forge. (Meaning that a carriage stopped outside the forge). But in this carriage ironmaster had not come but a new person had come.
The ironmaster had sent his daughter to persuade the tramp to come home. He might have thought that his daughter was more skillful in convincing.
She came to the forge. A servant was with her. He was carrying a large coat made of fur. She was not beautiful. But she looked humble and shy.
In the forge nothing had changed since evening. The master blacksmith and his trainee were sitting on their bench. There was glow (shine) of iron and coal in the furnace.
The stranger (tramp) was sleeping on the floor. He had kept a piece of pig iron below his head. He was using it as a pillow. His hat was covering his eyes.
|Caught sight of him||Saw him|
|Abruptly||With a jerk, Unexpectedly|
When the young girl saw the stranger, she went to him and lifted his hat. The tramps had the habit of keeping his one eye open while sleeping. He jumped with a jerk and appeared frightened.
The young girl told him that her name was Edla Willmansson. She said that her father had come home and had told her that you wanted to sleep in the forge. My father has given me permission to come here and take you home to stay with us. She addressed him as Captain and said that she felt bad to know that he was having difficult time.
|Heavy eyes||Large eyes|
She had large eyes. She looked at him with sympathy and she noticed that he was afraid.
|Christmas Eve||The day before Christmas|
She thought the paddler has either stolen something or has run away from jail. She said that the captain will not be forcefully kept in the house. He will have the liberty to go whenever he wanted. She requested him to stay with them for the Christmas Eve.
She said these words in very friendly manner. The paddler felt confidence in her. (Means he believed her)
The peddler told her that he could not imagine that she will herself take the trouble of coming to forge. He said that he will come immediately.
|Bow||Bend as mark of respect|
The servant bowed before him and gave him the fur coat. The peddler took the coat and put it on his torn cloths. He followed the young lady. The blacksmiths were surprised to see all this. The peddler did not look at them while going.
|Foreboding||Feeling that something bad will happen|
While riding in the carriage to the farm house, the paddler started feeling that something bad may happen.
The peddler started thinking why he stole the money of the crofter. And now he found himself in the trap. He thought that he would never come out of the trap.
|Unexpectedly||Without planning, Without anticipation|
The next day was Christmas Eve. The ironmaster came to dining room for breakfast. He was feeling satisfied for having met his colleague so unexpectedly.
|Get flesh on bones||Wear clothes|
His daughter was busy at the dining table. He told his daughter that first they should give the tramp some clothes to wear. Then we must ensure that he gets some work. This work should be different from moving across the country for selling rattraps.
|Things have gone downhill||To become bad|
The daughter said that it was very strange that situation had become so bad for the tramp. Last night she did not see anything in the tramp to conclude that he was an educated person. (She thought he was uneducated person)
|Fall away||Go away, Disappear|
Father told her daughter to have some patience. He told that when the tramp washes himself and wears new cloth we would see the difference. Last night he was ashamed. The bad manners will go away when he changes his cloths to new ones.
|Bathe||To take bath|
Immediately after the ironmaster had completed his sentence, the door opened and the tramp entered the dining room. He was now clean and wearing nice clothes. The servant had cut his hair, shaved him and had given him a bath.
|Starched collar||Collar made stiff by starch|
|Whole shoes||Shoes reaching above ankles|
|Well groomed||Nicely dressed|
In addition to above, the tramp was wearing a nice suit of the ironmaster. He was wearing a white shirt, a stiff collar and shoes. Though the guest was now well dressed, the ironmaster did not look happy.
|Puckered brow||Folded or raised eyebrows|
The ironmaster looked at the peddler with raised and twisted eyebrows. He understood that he had made a mistake in recognizing him when he had seen the peddler in the dim light of the furnace. But now the tramp was standing in enough light of day time. So he made no mistake in realizing that the tramp was not his old acquaintance.
The ironmaster shouted at the tramp and asked him why tramp came to his house. The stranger made no excuse. He had understood that his days of luxury were over.
|Pretend||To make excuse|
The stranger replied that it was not his fault. He had said that he was a poor trader. He had not pretended to be any other person. The stranger had requested to allow him to stay at the forge. I have not done any harm to you. The stranger was ready to once again wear his rags and go away from there.
|Sheriff||Officer of the town|
The ironmaster replied that the tramp was not honest on his part. He further told that tramp must accept that. The ironmaster intends to call the sheriff to handover the tramp to him. So he says that he would like to seek opinion of Sheriff in this matter.
The tramp came forward and hit the table with his fist. He said to ironmaster that he would explain what the situation was.
|Set out||Intended, Meant|
|Cheese rinds||Flakes of cheese|
|Locks up||To imprison|
This complete world is a rattrap. All good things in this world are baits meant to pull a person into the trap or trouble. If you call Sheriff he may put me into the prison. But, Mr Ironmaster, please remember someday you may also get attracted to a bait and get caught in the trap. (This was the curse rattrap maker gave to the ironmaster. This was an attempt by him to avoid getting arrested by the Sherrif)
|Let somebody alone||Not to disturb him|
|As fast as||Immediately|
The ironmaster laughed at the tramp. He said that the tramp had uttered his dialogues very well. We should not disturb the Sheriff on Christmas Eve. He asked the tramp to go out of his house immediately.
The tramp started opening the door to go out. The daughter said that she did not want him to go out, he should stay with them on that day. After saying this she closed the door.
The ironmaster asked her what she was doing. He meant why she was doing it. The daughter was ashamed of her act. She stood there but did not reply anything.
In the morning Edla had thought she would give a homely treatment to the tramp. She had considered him a poor, hungry and an unfortunate person. She will make everything good on the occasion of Christmas. So that the peddler feels it was a festival day. She could not remove her thoughts immediately. Therefore she had intervened to favour the vagabond.
The girl explained that she was thinking about the stranger. He walks throughout the year. Probably nowhere in the country he is welcomed and can get a homely environment.
Wherever he goes, people ask him to go away. He has a fear of getting arrested and questioned by police. I want him to have one peaceful day with us – only one day in the full year.
|Mumbled||Murmured, Spoke unclearly|
|Say something in beard||Say in very low voice, Not audible|
The ironmaster said something unclearly. It could not be heard. He could not oppose her thoughts.
|Chase away||Order to go away|
Edla continued to say that it was certainly their mistake to bring the stranger home. But we have brought him here and promised happiness on Christmas. Therefore we should not order him to go away.
|Preach||Speak, Teach, Advocate|
|Regret||Repent, Feel sorry|
The ironmaster said that her arguments were worse than teaching by a priest. He hoped that she would not have to repent her decision. [Meaning that nothing bad would happen or occur at their house]
Edla held the stranger by his hand and brought him to the dining table. She requested him to eat food. She did this because she had understood that her father had accepted her thought.
The peddler did not say anything. He sat down and ate food. Again and again he was looking at the girl who had intervened to favour him. He could not understand why she had done that. He did not know how this strange idea came to her. He could not understand her thoughts that forced her to stop him at her house.
After that incident, everything was usual at Ramsjo on that Christmas Eve. The stranger did not make any trouble. He was sleeping and did nothing. During full afternoon he was sleeping on the sofa of guest room. He did not wake up in between.
In the afternoon they woke up the stranger so that he could have good food prepared for Christmas. After taking food the tramp again slept. It appeared that he had not slept since many years. Probably he had never experienced quiet and safe environment as that of house of ironmaster.
In the evening, lights of Christmas tree were switched on. They woke up the stranger. He was standing for some time in the drawing room. His eyes were blinking as if he could not tolerate lights of candles. After that he again went to sleep.
After two hours they again woke up the peddler. He came to dining room to eat fish and porridge prepared for Christmas.
Everybody completed dinner and got up from the table. The tramp went to everybody and said thank you and goodnight. Then he came to say thank you to Edla. She told him that her father wants to gift him the suit he was wearing as a Christmas present. He need not return the suit. She further told him that he would be welcomed to their house on next Christmas Eve also. She assured him that he would be able to take rest in peaceful environment and nothing bad would happen to him.
The rattrap maker did not reply anything. He looked at Edla with unlimited great surprise.
|Christmas service||Prayer on Christmas day|
Next morning the ironmaster and Edla got up early in the morning to go the Church for Christmas Prayer. The tramp was sleeping and they did not wake him up.
|Dejectedly||With disappointment, depressed|
Around ten o’ clock they were coming back from the church. The young girl was looking down. Her head was bowed. She was very sad – more than usual. At church she understood that one of their old crofters was looted by a person. That person used to move around to sell rattraps. She had understood that the person at their house was a thief.
Her father told Edla that she had allowed a good person to stay in their house. He wondered how many silver tea spoons would be left in their house by the time they reached home. Father was sarcastic of her decision. He also feared about a theft in the house.
The carriage had barely stopped at the house. The ironmaster asked valet if the stranger was still in the house. The ironmaster also told him that the stranger was a thief. They had come to know about this at the church.
The servant answered that the stranger had already left the house. He had not taken anything with him.
|On the contrary||Opposite|
Opposite to taking anything, he has left a small packet as a Christmas gift for Miss Willmansson. He has requested her to kindly accept the gift.
The young girl opened the packet. It was very poorly wrapped. So its contents could be immediately seen. She screamed with joy.
The gift was a small rattrap. In the rattrap, there were three ten kronor notes. (The same notes the tramp had stolen from the crofter.) But that was not the only thing in rattrap. There was a letter. It was written in rough and big letters. (Meaning that handwriting was not good)
Respected and gentle Miss, you have been very nice to me throughout the day. You gave me respect as if I was a captain. I want to be nice to you as if I were a real captain. I do not want you to feel ashamed on the Christmas festival season by a thief. Please return the money to the old person living on the side of the road. His money pouch was hanging on the window frame. This was a bait for poor persons moving around.
The rattrap is a Christmas present from the person who was a rat. He was caught in the rattrap of this world. But you have made him a Captain. Because of you he got the strength to become clear in his heart.
Written with friendship and high respect to you. He signed the letter as Captain von Stahle