The Rattrap

by

Selma Lagerlöf

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Rattrap can help.

The Old Man / The Crofter Character Analysis

An old man who lets the peddler spend the night at his house. The old man is clearly lonely and glad to have company, and provides the peddler with food, tobacco, and conversation. He used to be a crofter (someone who rents and works a small farm) at Ramsjö Ironworks, but now survives by selling the milk from his “extraordinary” cow. The old man is kind and generous, but the peddler repays his generosity by stealing thirty kronor from him after the crofter shows him where he keeps the money.

The Old Man / The Crofter Quotes in The Rattrap

The The Rattrap quotes below are all either spoken by The Old Man / The Crofter or refer to The Old Man / The Crofter. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Kindness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of The Rattrap published in 2014.
The Rattrap Quotes

As he walked along with the money in his pocket he felt quite pleased with his smartness. He realized, of course, that at first he dared not continue on the public highway, but must turn off the road, into the woods. During the first hours this caused him no difficulty. Later in the day it became worse, for it was a big and confusing forest which he had gotten into […] He walked and walked without coming to the end of the wood, and finally he realized that he had only been walking around in the same part of the forest. All at once he recalled his thoughts about the world and the rattrap. Now his own turn had come. He had let himself be fooled by a bait and had been caught.

Related Symbols: Rattraps
Explanation and Analysis:

“Honoured and noble Miss,

“Since you have been so nice to me all day long, as if I was a captain, I want to be nice to you, in return, as if I was a real captain—for I do not want you to be embarrassed at this Christmas season by a thief; but you can give back the money to the old man on the roadside, who has the money pouch hanging on the window frame as a bait for poor wanderers.

“The rattrap is a Christmas present from a rat who would have been caught in this world’s rattrap if he had not been raised to captain, because in that way he got power to clear himself.

“Written with friendship

And high regard,

“Captain von Stahle.”

Related Symbols: Rattraps
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Rattrap LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Rattrap PDF

The Old Man / The Crofter Character Timeline in The Rattrap

The timeline below shows where the character The Old Man / The Crofter appears in The Rattrap. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Rattrap
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
...comes to a cottage and decides to ask for shelter. He is greeted by an old man , who welcomes him in and is happy to have someone to talk to. The... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
...and go their separate ways. Half an hour later, however, the rattrap peddler returns to the crofter ’s cabin. He breaks the window and takes the thirty kronor from the pouch, stuffing... (full context)
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...the manor house, however, the peddler starts to regret his decision. He also regrets stealing the crofter ’s money, and thinks that he is now “sitting in the trap and will never... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
...the way back Edla is upset—at church they learned that one of the ironworks’ old crofters was robbed by a man peddling rattraps. The ironmaster chastises Edla for letting a thief... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
...wrapped package and inside finds a rattrap, a letter, and the thirty kronor stolen from the crofter . (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...season by a thief.” For this reason, he is leaving the money to return to the crofter , and also a rattrap as a present “from a rat who would have been... (full context)