NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap

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Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 4 The Rattrap- NCERT Solutions

Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.

  • Keep body and soul together: to manage to keep alive, to survive
  • Hunger gleamed in his eyes: feeling so hungry that the expression shows on one’s face
  • Plods along the road: moving along the road slowly but deliberately, to walk with a heavy feet
  • Unwonted joy: unusual pleasure or happiness
  • Impenetrable prison: impassable confinement
  • Nodded a haughty consent: the indifferent agreement
  • Eased his way: moved slowly and carefully
  • Fallen into a line of thought: agreement of thoughts
  • Things have gone downhill: to decline or grow worse and worse

 Think As You Read (Page 34)

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

Answer: One day the rattrap peddler was plodding along the road and naturally thinking about his rattraps. Suddenly, he was struck by the idea that the world with its lands and seas, its cities and villages is also a big rattrap. It offers riches and joy, Shelter and food, heat and clothing to lure human beings. As soon as anyone tries to touch these baits, he gets trapped in them.


Q2. Why was he amused by this idea?

Answer: He was amused by the idea that the world is a rattrap because he thought he was not alone in this world to whom it had never kind. Many people had let themselves be caught in the snare of this world, and others were circling around the bait.

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


Answer: The peddler did not expect this kind of hospitality because everyone used to give him an unfriendly gesture whenever he knocked on the doors.

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

Answer: The crofter was so talkative and friendly with the peddler because he was alone there in the cottage without his family. He had no wife or child, he was happy finding the peddler to talk to in his loneliness. He was just as generous with his confidence.

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

Answer: He showed the thirty kronor to the peddler because the peddler seemed to doubt it after listening to the crofter’s story of earning thirty kronor by supplying cow’s milk to the creamery, so he assured the peddler that he actually earned money.

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

Answer: No, he did not respect the confidence. Instead of respecting he stole thirty kronor from the crofter’s leather pouch by smashing the window pane and putting it back in the same place. Then he went away.

Think As You Read (Page 37)

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

Answer: The peddler taught that he would not walk in the public with the stolen money in his pocket. So he turned off the highway and went through the forest to keep safe from being caught with thirty kronor, he walked and walked endlessly in the same part of the forest without getting out of it. Then he realized that he had fallen into a rattrap.

Q2: why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?

Answer: The ironmaster spoke kindly to the peddler and invited him home because he mistakenly thought of the peddler as his old regimental comrade in the glow of the furnace. He also wanted his company on Christmas eve.

Q3. Why did the peddler decline the invitation?

Answer: The peddler declined the invitation because he knew that the ironmaster had mistaken him for his old regimental comrade. Secondly, he had thirty kronor in his pocket and he did not want to throw himself into trouble by going to the ironmaster’s house.

Think As You Read (Page 41)

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

Answer: The peddler accepted Edla Willmansson’s invitation because she looked at him compassionately. Edla noticed that the peddler was afraid. She assured him in such a friendly manner that he could leave them just after Christmas eve. This gave him confidence.

Q2. What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?

Answer: Edla had some suspicions about the peddler. She noticed that the peddler was afraid when she went to the iron mill to get him. She thought that either he had stolen something or he had escaped from jail. Peddler’s experience and behavior also left her in doubt whether he was an educated man as claimed by her father.

Q3. When did the ironmaster realize his mistake?

Answer: The ironmaster realized his mistake the next morning when the peddler was clean-shaved, bathed, and dressed in the ironmaster’s clothes.

Q4. What did the peddler say in his defense when it was clear that he was not the person the ironmaster had thought he was?

Answer: The peddler said in his defense that it was not his fault. He never pretended to be anything but a poor trader. He pleaded and begged to be allowed to stay in the forge. At last, he said that he could wear his rags again and go away.

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

Answer: Edla still entertained the peddler because she was a kind-hearted girl. She did not think it right to chase away a human being to whom they had promised Christmas cheer. She made great preparation so that he at least could enjoy a day of peace with them.

Think As You Read (Page 42)

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

Answer: Edla was happy to see the gift as the peddler roughly packed a small rattrap with three ten kronor notes inside it and a letter to edla, asking her to return those notes to the crofter. she cried with joy to see those things.

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

Answer: The peddler signed himself as Captain Von Stahle because he was treated and cared for like the Captain even after the disclosure of the reality.

Understanding The Text

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

Answer: The peddler betrayed the crofter and stole his thirty kronor. He wanted to get some kronor from the ironmaster. He was moved by the kindness and hospitality of Edla, so he gifted 30 kronor to return it to the old man and wrote a letter with gratitude.

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?

Answer: There are many instances in the story that show that both were different in nature.

  1. The ironmaster lacked to identify the peddler while his daughter guessed that he might be a thief.
  2. His daughter had better powers of persuasion than the ironmaster.
  3. He was rough and arrogant, while his daughter was sympathetic and compassionate.

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


  1. The crofter welcomed the peddler warmly without being familiar with him.
  2. The master blacksmith and other workers were indifferent when the peddler asked for shelter.
  3. The peddler was surprised when the ironmaster addressed him as ‘Nils Olof’.
  4. The peddler did not look back at the person that had sheltered him when he was going with Edla.

Q4. What made the peddler finally change his ways?

Answer: The sympathy, compassion, kindness, and friendly nature of edla forced him to change his way from thievery. She treated him with respect and dignity even after knowing that he was not what his father had thought.

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

Answer: The rattrap is used as a metaphor for the world in the story. A rattrap offers bait to attract a rat and closed in on it When the rat is tempted to eat the bait. In the same way, the world offers luxuries, food, clothes, and shelter as baits, and when anyone tempts to touch the baits, he is caught in the dangerous snare of the world. The peddler was trapped in thirty kronor, but Edlas’s kindness and sympathy saved him from the trap of the world.

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

Answer: There are various instances in the story where the peddler displayed his sense of humor. First, he calls this world a big rattrap, and all the human beings are rats. He further described that this world offers many things to lure humans, and they are caught in the trap of the world when they get them. He also warns the ironmaster to be caught in the trap when his identity is disclosed.

Talking About The Text

Q1. 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 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, and so does the peddler with the rattraps. He begs the material like wire for his rattraps. His business is not especially profitable, So he resorts to begging and petty thievery to keep body and soul together.
Peddler’s life is sad and monotonous and can appear to be such a vagabond. 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 for shelter for the night, he meets sour faces. He is an unwelcome, unwanted, and undesirable figure. The blacksmiths at the forge glance at him only casually and indifferently. The master blacksmith nods a haughty consent without honoring 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 by 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.

Answer: The Rattrap story handles the concerns of human loneliness and the need to bond with others. However, the rattrap paddler deals with a sad, monotonous, and lonely life. The paddler is not only the character who deals with it, and there are other characters like the crofter, the ironmaster, and Edla Williamson. The peddler is called a vagabond, stranger, etc in various situations in the story. The peddler was a man who went around roads and sell ratraps of small wire. He travels from one place to another place and he had resort to both begging and petty thievery. He searches the shelter for the night. He knock on the door and ask for shelter, the people refused to give him shelter and look at him with sour faces. Even the master blacksmith
nodded a haughty consent without honoring him with a single word. The crofter feels alone as he doesn’t have his family members neither wife nor child. When the peddler ask for shelter he was not refused to stay at night.  Instead, he was happy to get someone to talk to in his loneliness. The ironmaster also feels alone as he didn’t have any company for Christmas. The ironmaster’s wife has died and his sons are living in abroad. There is no one at home except his old daughter and himself. Ironmaster taught peddle as Captain von Stehle and requests him to have a company. The stranger refuses the request because he is against human bondings and also 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?

Answer: Yes, I had heard the famous story of “The Bishop’s Candlestick” which tells how the kindness of the bishop has changed a beast into a man with faith in God and human values.
The Bishop offers them food and shelter at night to a runaway convict who intimidates him with a knife. Long years of detention and punishment in the prison have changed the man into a creature who lacks all human feelings. The prisoner runs away with the Bishop’s Silver candlestick but he was apprehended by the police.
The bishop tells the police, that the prison is his friend and he gave him the candlesticks, to save the prisoner from punishment and further torture. The kindness of the Bishop changes the prison’s beast behavior. He realizes and promised to be a good man.

Q4. The Story is Both Entertaining and Philosophical.

Answer: The story ‘The rattrap’ is true, both entertaining and philosophical. The fast-paced narrative in the third person, generous use of dialogue by the author, and different characters belonging to different mindsets and locales make the story interesting and entertaining. Besides the author has managed to stay up the suspense. The incidents at the forge, with the ironmaster coming at midnight, hold our attention. The peddler’s incessant refusals to the ironmaster to accompany him, but his accepting Edla’s invitation in one go, the iromnast6er realization of his mistake, and Edla’s sympathy and generosity all make the story quite gripping. While all the above events make the story interesting, there’s also a component of philosophy within the story. The peddler theory of the world being a rattrap is true. One caught up like a rat in the entrapping of the world. Some people fall under this trap never to return it again. The story teaches us human beings are not above temptations.

 Working With Words

Q1. 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?


Labels Context
Intruder He entered the iron mill without permission
Tramp He travels from place to place on foot
Stranger He was an unknown person for the crofter
Peddler As he peddles or sells the rattraps
Vagabond He plods along the road. Wanderer
Guest He was a guest at the ironmaster’s house
Ragamuffin When the ironmaster first notices him wrapped in rags
Poor Hungry Wretch He was an unfortunate man for Edla
Rat He calls himself a rat and thanked Edla for helping him escape from the rattrap

Q2. You Came Across the Words, Plod, Trudge, Stagger in the Story. These Words Indicate Movement Accompanied by Weariness. Find Five Other Such Words With Similar Meanings.

Answer: Slog, Flounder, Tramp, Lumber, Clump are the five other words with similar meanings.

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 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 the 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.


  1. He had not come there to talk but only to warm himself and sleep.
  2. To go up to the manor house would be like throwing himself voluntarily into the lion’s den.
  3. Please don’t think that I have such a fine home that you cannot show yourself there’’
  4. ‘It would never have occurred to me that you would bother with me yourself
  5. He laughed to himself as he went away
  6. The stranger had stretched himself out on the floor
  7. He only sat down and helped himself to the food.
  8. My boys are abroad, and there is no one at home except my oldest daughter and myself

In 2, 4, and 8 sentences the reflexive pronouns Yourself, Himself, Myself are used to convey emphasis.
In 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 the reflexive pronoun is used in place of the personal pronoun to signal that it refers to the same subject in the sentence.

Thinking About Language

Q1. Notice the words in bold in the following sentence.

The fire boy shoveled 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.

Answer: Phrases and words from the story that are peculiar to the terminology of ironworks are mentioned below-

  • Put on the anvil
  • Big below
  • Charcoal
  • Coal
  • Coal dust
  • Hammer strokes
  • Pig iron
  • Rolling mill and forge
  • Smelter
  • Sooty Panes

Q2. Mjolis is a card game of Sweden. Name a few indoor games played in your region. ‘Chopar’ could be an example. 

Answer: Chess, Carroms, Snake & Ladder, Ludo, Musical Chairs, Hide and seek, etc. are the indoor games played in our region. ‘Chukkhal’ is a poor man’s substitute of Chopar.

Q3. A crofter is a person who rents or owns a small farm, especially in Scotland. Think of other uncommon terms for ‘a small farmer’ including those in your language.

Answer: The uncommon terms of the farmer are in American English called as Farmer in Danish called Landmand and in Dutch called as Boer person. In our Language a person who won’s the land is called ‘Kisan’ or ‘Krishak’.