Chapter Summary of The Rattrap
Chapter Summary of The Rattrap : ‘The Rattrap’ is a story by Selma Lagerlof, about a rattrap seller who once almost got trapped himself.
Chapter Summary of The Rattrap
The rattrap seller used to make and sell rattraps from place to place, and was also engaged in thievery now and then. One day it occurs to this man that the whole world was like a rattrap and all the riches and facilities in it were baits. Once someone closed in, then they would get trapped and that would be their end. Since the world hadn’t been kind to him, it gave him joy to think ill of the world.
One evening the rattrap seller seeks shelter at a cottage and he is treated kindly by the old owner. The owner is a trusting man and even shows the rattrap seller the money he earned the previous month because of his cow. The next day, both go their own way. However, the seller comes back after some time, breaks the window and steals the money the old man had shown him the previous night.
He then makes his way into the forest to escape, though he soon realises that he has got lost in it. The seller realises that he has fallen to the bait which was money here and thinks that he is about to get trapped i.e. die. Just then, he hears a sound which he understands is from an iron mill nearby. He goes there and the master smith gives him permission to stay.
Meanwhile, the ironmaster – the owner, comes over and mistakes the rattrap seller for Nils Olof, who had left the regiment. The rattrap seller decides to play along. However, when the owner insists on taking him to his house to honour him, he resists. When the seller doesn’t agree, he sends his daughter to convince him. The rattrap seller finally relents and accompanies the woman to her house, where the valet cleans and grooms him. However, when the ironmaster sees his groomed appearance, he realises that the rattrap seller is not the man he had assumed him to be.
The ironmaster accuses the rattrap seller of being dishonest and suggests calling the sheriff to send him to prison. The seller shares his idea of the world as a rattrap and says that if he sends him to the sheriff, the ironmaster too would be caught in a similar rattrap one day. The owner laughs and lets him go away. However, his daughter requests to let him stay that day as it was Christmas. The man eats and spends most of his time sleeping. On Christmas Day, the ironmaster and his daughter go to church for Christmas service, while the seller is asleep.
At church, they learn that an old crofter was robbed. Realising that the thief was the man they had left behind in their own house, the ironmaster wonders how much he would have stolen in their absence. However, when they reach home, they learn that he has left and hasn’t taken anything with him. Rather, he leaves a rattrap for the daughter along with the money he had stolen from the kind, old man a few days ago and asks her to return it to him.
He also writes a letter to her in which he expresses how kind she has been to him. He mentions that the rattrap is a gift from a rat who almost got trapped before he was saved by her, because she treated him like a Captain.
Conclusion of Rattrap
From The Rattrap, we can conclude that kindness and compassion can make the world a better place.