‘The Rattrap’ is the story of a homeless wanderer who used to sell rattraps. As his business was not profitable, he had to resort to begging and petty thievery. He was stuck with the idea that the whole world was nothing but a big rattrap.
One dark evening as he was trudging along the road, he caught sight of a little cottage by the roadside. He knocked at the door to seek shelter. The owner of the house welcomed him. He shared with him his personal life and told him that he was a crofter at the ironworks. The next morning, the crofter and his guest left the house and went their own ways. The rattrap peddler, however, came back, broke into the cottage of the crofter and stole thirty kronors. After stealing the money the peddler reached the Ramsjo Ironworks and the ironmaster who was the owner of the mill, mistook him for his old regimental comrade. He invited him to his house. After realizing that he had been mistaken the ironmaster ordered peddler to leave his home at once. However, His daughter Edla persuaded her father to let him stay on as a Christmas guest.
Her sympathy, generosity and compassion awoke the essential goodness in the peddler. He realized what he did was wrong and that was not returning the kindness and trust given to him. He apologized for lying to the girl and her father and left her a present, a rattrap and the stolen money (thirty croner bills) of the old man to be returned. The story strongly validates the concept that compassion revolves around humankind. It underlines the belief that essential goodness in human beings can be aroused through sympathy, understanding and love.