In this article, we have provided CBSE Class 12 NCERT Solutions for Chapter 4 of the English Flamingo Textbook. The NCERT solutions have been provided by the subject expert after a detailed analysis of the marking scheme and model answer sheet issued by CBSE. Chapter 4 of Prose from the Flamingo textbook is a story of a rattrap seller and his strange encounter with a girl named Edla and her father. Class 12th students can study the answers provided here to score well in school as well as Class 12th board exams.
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English: Flamingo (Prose) - Chapter 4: The Rattrap
Ques: From where did the peddler get the idea of the world being a rattrap?
Answer: 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.
Ques: Why was he amused by this idea?
Answer: 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 by how people let themselves be caught in the dangerous snare and how others were still circling around the bait.
Ques: Did the peddler expect the kind of hospitality that he received from the crofter?
Answer: The crofter served him porridge for supper and tobacco for his pipe. He also played a game of cards with him till bedtime. This hospitality was unexpected as people usually made sour faces when the peddler asked for shelter.
Ques: Why was the crofter so talkative and friendly with the peddler?
Answer: 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 confidence.
Ques: Why did he show the thirty kronor to the peddler?
Answer: 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.
Ques: Did the peddler respect the confidence reposed in him by the crofter?
Answer: 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 windowpane, took out the money and hung the leather pouch back in its place. Then he went away.
Ques: What made the peddler think that he had indeed fallen into a rattrap?
Answer: 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 fooled by a bait and had been caught in.
Ques: Why did the ironmaster speak kindly to the peddler and invite him home?
Answer: 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.
Ques: Why did the peddler decline the invitation?
Answer: 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.
Ques: What made the peddler accept Edla Willmansson’s invitation?
Answer: 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 confident in her and accept her invitation.
Ques: What doubts did Edla have about the peddler?
Answer: 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.
Ques: When did the ironmaster realise his mistake?
Answer: The 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.
Ques: How did the peddler defend himself against not having revealed his true identity?
Answer: 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.
Ques: Why did Edla still entertain the peddler even after she knew the truth about him?
Answer: 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.
Ques: Why was Edla happy to see the gift left by the peddler?
Answer: 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 embarrassed at the Christmas season by a thief.
Ques: Why did the peddler sign himself as Captain von Stahle?
Answer: 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.
Ques: How does the peddler interpret the acts of kindness and hospitality shown by the crofter, the iron master and his daughter?
Answer: 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 his company in his loneliness and helps him pass time. He wants to get a couple of kronor 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.
Ques: 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 is impulsive* whereas his daughter is 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 daylight 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 runaway prisoner. In spite of that, she is gentle, kind, and friendly to him. She treats him nicely even after knowing the mistake in identity.
Ques: The story has many instances of unexpected reactions from the characters to others’ behaviour. Pick out instances of these surprises.
Answer: 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 for his hospitality.
Ques: What made the peddler finally change his ways?
Answer: 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 a 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.
Ques: How does the metaphor of the rattrap serve to highlight the human predicament?
Answer: 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. He walks through the wood. He is afraid to go to the Manor house. He gets peace only after returning the bait (money).
Ques: he 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?
Answer: 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.