Chapter 4 – The Rattrap Questions and Answers: NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose)

Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose) NCERT book solutions for Chapter 4 - The Rattrap Questions and Answers.


Q1. From where did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?

Ans: The peddler had been thinking of his rattraps when suddenly he was struck by the idea that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap. It existed only to set baits for people. It offered riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing in the same manner as the rattrap offered cheese and pork. As soon as someone let himself be tempted to touch the bait, it closed in on him, and then everything came to an end.

Q2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Ans: His own life was sad and monotonous. He walked laboriously from place to place. The world had never been kind to him. So, during his gloomy ploddings, this idea became his favourite pastime. He was amused how people let themselves be caught in the dangerous snare and how others were still circling around the bait.

Q3. Did the peddler expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter?

Ans: The crofter served him porridge for supper and tobacco for his pipe. He also played a game of cards with him till bed time. This hospitality was unexpected as people usually made sour faces when the peddler asked for shelter.

Q4. Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?

Ans: The crofter’s circumstances and temperament made him so talkative and friendly with the peddler. Since he had no wife or child, he was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. Secondly, he was quite generous with his confidences.

Q5. Why did he show the thirty kronor to the peddler?

Ans: The crofter had told the peddler that by supplying his cow’s milk to the creamery, he had received thirty kronor in payment. The peddler seemed to doubt it. So, in order to assure his guest of the truth he showed the thirty kronor to the peddler.

Q6. Did the peddler respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?

Ans: No, the peddler did not respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter. At the very first opportunity that he got, he smashed the window pane, took out the money and hung the leather pouch back in its place. Then he went away.


Q1. What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rattrap?

Ans: The peddler realised that he must not walk on the public highway with the stolen money in his pocket. He went into the woods. He kept walking without coming to the end of the wood. Then he realised that he had fallen in the rattrap. He had let himself befooled by a bait and had been caught in.

Q2. Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

Ans: The ironmaster walked closely up to the peddler. In the uncertain reflection from the furnace, he mistook the man as his old regimental comrade, Captain Von Stahle. He addressed the stranger as Nils Olof, spoke very kindly and invited him home.

Q3. Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Ans: The peddler knew that the ironmaster had mistaken him for his old regimental comrade. Secondly, he had stolen money—thirty kronor—on him. Going to the ironmaster’s residence would be like entering the lion’s den. So, he declined the invitation.


Q1. What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?

Ans: Miss Edla Willmansson looked at the peddler quite compassionately. She noticed that the man was afraid. She assured him that he would be allowed to leave just as freely as he came. She requested him to stay with them over Christmas Eve. Her friendly manner made the peddler feel confidence in her and accept her invitation.

Q2. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Ans: As Edla lifted the peddler’s hat, he jumped up abruptly and seemed to be quite frightened. Even her kind looks, disclosure of her name and purpose of visit failed to calm him. From his fear, she thought that either he had stolen something or he had escaped from jail.

Q3. When did the ironmaster realise his mistake?

Ans: Next morning, the stranger was cleaned and well-dressed. The valet had bathed him, cut his hair and shaved him. He was led to the dining room for breakfast. The ironmaster saw him in broad daylight. It was impossible to mistake him for an old acquaintance now. Then the ironmaster realised his mistake and threatened to call the Sheriff.

Q4. How did the peddler defend himself against not having revealed his true identity?

Ans: The peddler explained that he had not tried to pretend as his acquaintance. He was not at fault. All along he had maintained that he was a poor trader. He had pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. No harm had been done by his stay. He was willing to put on his rags again and go away.

Q5. Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?

Ans: Edla did not think it proper on their part to chase away a human being whom they had asked to come to their house and had promised him Christmas cheer. She understood the reality of the peddler’s life and wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them. Hence, she still entertained the peddler even after knowing the truth about him.

Q1. Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?

Ans: As soon as Edla opened the package of the gift, the contents came into view. She found a small rattrap with three wrinkled ten kronor notes and a letter addressed to her. The peddler wanted to be nice in return as she had been so nice to him all day long. He did not want her to be embarrased at the Christmas season by a thief.

Q2.Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle?

Ans: The ironmaster has invited the peddler to his house mistaking him for Captain von Stahle. He was welcomed there and looked after as captain even after the reality became known. The peddler got a chance to redeem himself from dishonest ways by acting as an honourable Captain.


Q1. How does the peddler interpret the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the iron master and his daughter?

Ans: The peddler interprets the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the iron master and his daughter differently. He cheats the crofter as he provides him company in his loneliness and helps him pass time. He wants to get a couple of kronors from the iron master and is surprised at the contrasting style of behaviour of father and daughter. He is touched by the kindness, care and intervention of Edla on his behalf.

Q2. 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?

Ans: The ironmaster is impulsive* whereas his daughter is cool, logical, kind and thoughtful. In uncertain light he (iron master) mistakes the stranger as his old regiment comrade. He invites him home and takes care of his feeding, clothing etc. When he sees him in broad day light he calls the man dishonest, demands an explanation and is ready to call in the sheriff. His daughter is more observant. She notices the fear of the stranger and thinks that either he is a thief or a run away prisoner. Inspite of that She is gentle, kind and friendly to him. She treats him nicely even after knowing the mistake in identity.

Q3. The story has many instances of unexpected reactions from the characters to others’ behaviour. Pick out instances of these surprises.

Ans: The peddler is surprised at the warm welcome, generous supper, cheerful company and intimate confidences by the crofter. The ironmaster addresses the peddler as Captain von Stahle. He is surprised when the ironmaster calls him “Nils Olof. The ironmaster assumes his declining the invitation a result of embarrassment caused by his miserable clothing. The peddler’s comparison of the world to a rattrap makes the ironmaster laugh and he drops the idea of calling in the sheriff.
The peddler looks at Edla in boundless amazement when she tells him that the suit is a Christmas present. She also invites him to spend next Christmas with them. She does all this even after knowing the mistake about his identity.The crofter is robbed by his guest, the rattrap peddler, in return of his hospitality.

Q4. What made the peddler finally change his ways?

Ans: Edla Willmansson treated the tramp in a friendly manner. She was nice and kind to her. She interceded on his behalf when her father was about to turn him out. She still entertained the peddler even after knowing the truth about him. She offered him the suit as Christmas present and invited him to spend the next Christmas with them. Her love and understanding aroused the essential goodness in the peddler and finally he changed his ways.

Q5. How does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament?

Ans: The world entices a person through the various good things of life such as riches and joy, shelter and food, heat and clothing. These were just like the baits in the rattrap. Once someone is tempted by the bait, the world closed on him.The peddler was tempted by thirty kronor of the crofter. It makes him hide himself. He walks through the wood. He is afraid to go to the Manor house. He gets peace only after returning the bait (money).

Q6. The peddler comes out as a person with a subtle sense of humour. How7 does this serve in lightening the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endear him to us?

Ans: The peddler has a subtle sense of humour, which is revealed during his interactions with the ironmaster and his daughter after the truth about him becomes known. He is neither afraid of being turned out in cold in rags nor of being sent to prison. He makes the ironmaster laugh with his metaphor of the rattrap. His letter with the Christmas present to Edla is a fine example of his capacity to make others laugh at him. Thus, he lightens the seriousness of the theme of the story and also endears himself to us.


Q1. The reader’s sympathy is with the peddler right from the beginning of the story. Why is this so? Is the sympathy justified?

Ans: The peddler wins our sympathy for his way of life and how the world treats him. It is an admitted fact that the underdog always runs away with sympathy, so does the peddler with the rattraps. He begs the material like wire for his rattraps. His business not being specially profitable, he resorts to begging and petty thievery to keep body and soul together.
His life is sad and monotonous. He plods along the road lost in his own meditation. The world has never been very kind to him and he feels happy in calling it a rattrap. Whenever, he asks shelter for the night, he meets sour faces. He is an unwelcome, unwanted and undesirable figure. The blacksmiths at forge glance at him only casually and indifferently. The master blacksmith nods a haughty consent without honouring him with a single word.
The old and lonely crofter finds him an enjoyable company. The ironmaster mistakes him for an old regimental comrade. Only Edla Willmansson behaves with him in a kind, friendly manner. Her nice treatment arouses the tramp’s goodness. He redeems himself Hy returning the stolen money and wins our admiration. Thus, we see that the sympathy is not only well earned but well justified too.

Q2. The story also focuses on human loneliness and the need to bond with others.

Ans: There are at least three characters in the story who suffer from loneliness and express the need to bond with others. They represent three strata of the human society as well. The peddler with the rattraps, the old crofter and the ironmaster all suffer from loneliness. The peddler is called a tramp, a vagabond and stranger at various points of the story. He moves wearily from one place to the other. He is lost in his own thoughts. He seeks shelter for night and people look at him with sour faces. Even the blacksmiths look haughtily at him and nod consent. The old crofter suffers from loneliness as he has neither wife nor child with him. Hence, he feels happy when he gets the peddler to talk to in his loneliness.
The ironmaster is also lonely in his manor house. His wife Elizabeth has died and his sons are abroad. There is no one at home except his oldest daughter and himself. His requests to Captain von Stehle to accompany him show his need for human bonding. He admits frankly that they didn’t have any company for Christmas. The stranger turns down the request not because he is against bonding with others but because he fears being caught with stolen money.

Q3. 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?

Ans: Yes, I know how the kindness of a Bishop transformed a hard-hearted beastly convict into a man again with faith in God and human values. The story is presented in the form of a famous play ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’
The Bishop provides food and shelter at midnight to a runaway convict who threatens him with a knife. Long years of imprisonment and harsh treatment in the prisonship has transformed the man into beast and he is devoid of all human feelings now. The convict runs away with the Bishop’s silver candlesticks, but is caught by the police.
In order to save the convict from further punishment and torture, the Bishop tells the police officer that the fellow is his friend and he had himself given him the candlesticks. This kind act of the Bishop melts the hard heart of the convict. He sobs and weeps. He promises to be a man again.

Q4. The story is both entertaining and philosophical. Discuss.

Ans: The story entertains us by providing glimpses into human nature and how people react to various situations. The actions of the peddler after stealing thirty kronor are quite amusing. The reactions of the blacksmiths to the tramp’s request for shelter show how casual and indifferent human beings can be.
The U-turn in the ironmaster’s attitude towards the stranger reveal how selfish and ignorant human beings can be. Mistaking the vagabond for his old regimental comrade, whom he thinks he has run across unexpectedly, he asks the stranger to accompany him home and spend Christmas with them. When the stranger refuses to go with him, the ironmaster sends his daughter. With her better persuasive power she makes him follow her.
The ironmaster is annoyed on seeing the stranger in broad daylight. But instead of realising his own mistake, he puts the blame on the man. He talks of handing him over to the sheriff. The metaphor of the world being a rattrap saves the situation for the tramp, but the ironmaster wants to turn him out. His daughter’s comments are quite entertaining and philosophical. She wants the tramp to enjoy a day of peace. Secondly, she does not want to chase away a person whom they had invited home and had promised Christmas cheer.


Q1. How did the peddler of rattraps manage in survive?

Ans:He made rattraps of wire and went around selling them. He got material for making them
by begging in the big stores or at big farms. Since his business was not quite profitable, he would beg or steal in order to survive.

Q2. How did the peddler look? Was he different from people of his type?

Ans: He was a man with a long beard, dirty, ragged, and with a bunch of rattraps dangling on his chest. His clothes were in rags, his cheeks were sunken, and hunger gleamed in his eyes. No, he looked like the way people of his type usually did.

Q3. What idea. did he get about the world? What were its implications?

Ans: He got the idea that the whole world was only a big trap. It sets baits for people exactly as the rattrap offered cheese and pork. It offered riches and joys, shelter and food, heat and clothing as baits. It closed on the person who let himself be tempted to touch the bait. Then everything came to an end.

Q4. Why did the peddler think of the world as a rattrap? What became his cherished pastime?

Ans: The world had never been kind to the peddler. So, he got unusual joy to think ill of the world. His pastime was to think of people he knew who had let themselves be caught in the dangerous snare of the world, and of others who were still circling around the bait.

Q5. What hospitality did the peddler with rattraps receive from the old crofter?

Ans: The old crofter served the peddler hot porridge for supper and gave him tabacco for his pipe. He entertained his guest by playing cards with him. He also informed him about his prosperous past life and how his cow supported him in his old age now.

Q6. ‘The old man was just as generous with his confidences as with his porridge and tobacco’. What personal information did he impart to his guest ?

Ans: The old man told his guest that in his days of prosperity he had been a crofter at Ramsjo Ironworks. Then he worked on the land. Now he was unable to do physical labour. His cow supported him now. He supplied her milk to the creamery everyday. Last month he had received thirty kronor in payment.

Q7. Where had the old man put his money? Why did he hold it up before the eyes of his guest and what did he do later on?

Ans: The man had put his money in a leather pouch which hung on a nail in the window frame. He picked out three wrinMed ten-kronor bills for his guest to see as he has seemed sceptical. Then he stuffed them back into the pouch.

Q8.‘ The next day both men got up in good, season.’ Why? Who are the men and what did they do after getting up?

Ans: The two men are the old crofter and his guest-the peddler with, the rattraps. The crofter was in a hurry to milk his cow. His guest did not want to stay in bed when the host had risen. They left the cottage at the same time. The crofter locked the door and put the key in his pocket. The peddler bade him goodbye and thanked him. Then each went his own way.

Q9. Why did rattrap peddler return and how did he rob the old crofter?

Ans: The rattrap peddler was tempted by the thirty kronors he had seen in the leather pouch of the old crofter. He returned half an hour later, smashed a window pane, stuck in his hand and got hold of the pouch. He took out the money and thrust it into his own pocket. Thus, he robbed the old crofter.

Q10. How did the peddler feel after robbing the crofter? Why did he discontinue walking on the public highway?

Ans: At first he felt quite pleased with his smartness. Then he realised the danger of being caught by the police with the stolen money with him. He decided to discontinue walking on the public highway and turn off the road, into the woods.

Q11. Why did Edla plead with her father not to send the vagabond away? [All India 2014]

Ans: Edla was kind and sympathetic. She was much pained by the plight of the peddler. Edla requested her father to spend a day with them in peace as a respite from the struggle.

Q12. How did the peddler feel while walking through the wood? What did he realise?

Ans: During the first hours the woods caused him no difficulty. Later in the day, it became worse as it was a big and confusing forest. The paths twisted back and forth. He kept on walking but did not come to the end of the wood. He realised that he had been walking around in the same part of the forest.

Q13. What do you learn about the Ramsjo Ironworks from ‘The Rattrap’?

Ans: The Ramsjo Ironworks used to be a large plant, with smelter, rolling mill and forge. In the summer time long fines of heavily loaded barges and scows slid down the canal. In the winter time, the roads near the mill were black from charcoal dust.

Q14. Why did the blacksmith fail to notice the entry of the peddler in the forge?

Ans: The forge was full of many sounds. The big bellows groaned and the burning coal cracked. The fire boy shovelled charcoal into the maw of the fumance with a great deal of clatter. A water fall roared outside. Sharp north wind made the rain strike the brick-tiled roof. Due to all this noise the blacksmith failed to notice the peddlar’s entry.

Q15. ‘The blacksmiths glanced only casually and indifferently at the intruder’, What prompted them to do so?

Ans: Usually poor vegabonds, without any better shelter for the night, felt attracted to the forge by the glow of fight which escaped through the sooty panes. They came in to warm themselves in front of the fire. The intruder looked like other people of his type usually did.

Q16. What did the tramp ask? Was his request granted? What did he do then?

Ans: The tramp asked permission to stay. The blacksmiths hardly deigned to look at him. The master blacksmith nodded a haughty consent without uttering a word. The tramp too did not say anything. He had come there only to warm himself and sleep. So, he eased his way close to the furnace. ‘

Q17. Who was the owner of the Ramsjo Iron Mill? Why did he come to the forge that night?

Ans: The owner of that mill was a very prominent ironmaster. His greatest ambition was to ship out good iron to the market. He insisted on quality and kept a watch on the work both night and day. He came to the forge on one of his nightly rounds of inspection.

Q18. What did the ironmaster notice in the forge? How did he react then?

Ans: The ironmaster noticed a person in dirty rags lying quite close to the furnace. Steam rose from his wet rags. The ironmaster went near him and looked at him very carefully. Then he removed his slouch hat to get a better view of his face. He thought that he was an old acquaintance of his and said : “But of course it is you, Nils Olof!”

Q19. Why did the man with the rattraps not want to undeceive the ironmaster all at once?

Ans: The peddler thought that if the fine gentleman thought he was an old acquaintance, he might perhaps throw him a couple of kronor. So he did not want to undeceive him all at once.

Q20. What observation did the ironmaster make about the stranger? What did he ask him to do?

Ans: The ironmaster saw the stranger in the uncertain fight of the fumance and mistook him for his old regimental comrade. He said that it was a mistake on his part to have resigned from the regiment. If he had been in service at that time, it would never have happened. He asked the stranger to go home with him.

Q21. What did the peddler think about going up to the manor house? How did he react to the ironmaster’s invitation?

Ans: The peddler looked quite alarmed. He still had the stolen thirty kronor on him. Going up to the manor house would be like throwing himself voluntarily into the lion’s den. He did not feel pleased to go there and be received by the owner like an old regimental comrade. So he declined the invitation.

Q22. What did the ironmaster assume to be the reason behind his old comrade s refusal? Hoiw did he try to reassure him?

Ans: The ironmaster assumed that his old regimental comrade felt embarrassed because of his miserable clothing. He said that his house was not so fine that he couldn’t show himself there. He lived there only with his daughter as his wife Elizabeth was dead and his sons were abroad.

Q23. What reason did the ironmaster advance in support of his invitation to the stranger?

Ans: He said that they didn’t have any company for Christmas. He thought it was quite bad. He requested the stranger to come along with him and help them make the Christmas food disappear a little faster.

Q24. ‘The ironmaster saw that he must give in.’ What made him give in? What did he say? What did the blacksmith think about the ironmaster?

Ans: The stranger declined the ironmaster’s invitation thrice. The ironmaster then told Stjemstrom, the blacksmith that Captain von Stahle preferred to stay with him that night. He laughed to himself as he went away. The blacksmith, who knew the ironmaster, understood very well that he had not said his last word.

Q25. Who was the new guest at the forge ? Why had that person come there and how did he I she look’? Who accompanied her and why?

Ans: The new guest was the ironmaster’s daughter. She drove in there in a carriage along with a valet who carried on his arm a big fur coat. She had been sent there by her father hoping that she had better powers of persuasion that he himself. She was not at all pretty, but seemed modest and quite Shy.

Q26. Describe the scene at the forge when Edla Willmansson came there.

Ans: The master blacksmith and his apprentice sat on a bench. Iron and charcoal glowed in the furnace. The stranger had stretched himself out on the floor. He lay with a piece of pig iron under his head and his hat pulled down over his eyes.

Q27. What did the young girl notice about the stranger? What did she conclude? How did she make him feel confidence in her?

Ans: The stranger jumped up abruptly and seemed to be quite frightened. She looked at him sympathetically, but the man still looked afraid. She concluded that either he had stolen something or else he had escaped from jail. She spoke to him in a very friendly manner to make him feel confidence in her.

Q28. What did the peddler of rat traps think while he was riding up to the manor house?

Ans: Whfie he was riding up to the manor house he had evil forebodings. He questioned himself why he had taken that fellow’s money. He thought that he was sitting in the trap and would never get out of it.

Q29. Why did the peddler derive pleasure from his idea of the world as a rattrap?

Ans: The peddler was very happy with the idea of the world as a rattrap because he was never given kindly treatment by the world. He had quite different feeling for it and loved to think ill of it by comparing it to a rattrap.

Q30. How did the ironmaster try to convince his daughter about the stranger’?

Ans: He asked his daughter to have some patience. She would see something different as soon as the stranger got clean and dressed up. Last night he was naturally embarrassed. He asserted that tramp manners would fall away from him with tramp clothes.

Q31. What impression did the well-groomed guest make? How did the ironmaster react and why?

Ans: He looked truly clean and well dressed. The ironmaster did not seem pleased. He looked at him with contracted brow. It was because he had made a mistake in identifying the person in uncertain light at night. He demanded an explanation from the man.

Q32. What did the ironmaster threaten to do after knowing the mistake? How did the stranger save himself?

Ans: The ironmaster threatened to call in the sheriff. The stranger told him that the Sheriff might lock him up for dissembling. He reminded the ironmaster that a day might come when he might get tempted, and then he would be caught in the big rattrap of the world. The metaphor amused the ironmaster. He dropped the idea of sending for the sheriff, but asked the stranger to leave at once.

Q33. ‘The daughter stood there quite embarrassed and hardly knew what to answer.’ What embarrassed her? Why did she intercede for the vagabond?

Ans: The daughter had drawn plans to make things homelike and typical of Christmas, for the poor hungry wretch. She could not get away from this idea at once. She felt embarrassed when her father asked the man to get out. She interceded for the vagabond to persuade her father to let him stay for Christmas.

Q34. What arguments did the young girl give in favour of the stranger’s stay there?

Ans: She said that the whole year long, the stranger walked around. He was probably not welcome or made to feel at home even at a single place. He was chased away wherever he turned. He was always afraid of being arrested and cross-examined. She wanted him to enjoy a day of peace with them-just one in the whole year.

Q35. “He only stared at the young girl in boundless amazement.” What made the man with the rattraps react in this manner?

Ans: The young girl told him after the Christmas dinner that the suit he wore was to be a Christmas present from her father. He did not have to return it. If he wanted to spend next Christmas Eve peacefully, without any evil befalling him, he would be welcomed back again. This amazed him.

Q36. “The young girl sat and hung her head even more dejectedly than usual.” What two reasons forced her to behave in this manner?

Ans: First, she had learned at church that one of the old crofters of the ironworks had been robbed by a man who went around selling rattraps. Second, her father taunted her and held her responsible for letting that “fine fellow” into the house.

Q37. Sum up the contents of the letter addressed to Miss Willmansson.

Ans: The stranger did not want her to be embarrassed at the Christmas season with a thief. As she had been nice to him as if he were a captain, he would be nice to her as if he were a real captain. She asked her to return the money to the old crofter. The rattrap was a present from a rat who would have been caught in the world’s rattrap if he had not been raised to captain. It was as captain that he got power to clear himself.