How does the story, ‘The Rattrap’ show the redemptive power of love and compassion?

The peddler, who has never been treated with kindness and compassion, first comes across it when the lonely crofter welcomes him into his house. Next, it is the ironmaster and his daughter Edla, who are seen showing compassion towards the weary peddler. Although, the ironmaster expresses concern towards him only until he realises that he has mistaken the peddler for an old and close friend, Edla’s attitude towards men and matters is different from her father’s attitude. The ironmaster behaves rudely with the peddler and questions him about his dishonest behaviour, he even threatens to inform the sheriff about the peddler’s actions as he does not want the vagabond in his house anymore. However, Edla empathises with the tired and dishevelled looking peddler. She invites him to celebrate Christmas with them and enjoy the Christmas feast. She is more persuasive than her father; she seems firm yet polite in her approach when she insists that he should stay with them for as long as he wants. She asked him to keep her father’s suit, which is given to him to wear and invites him to come back next year for Christmas. The peddler used to be someone with a grudge against the world. However, compassion and understanding shown by Edla transforms this selfish thief into a man with conscience. He not only returns the crofter’s money, but also leaves a letter and a gift, a rattrap, for Edla. In the letter he thanks Edla for treating him like a true gentleman, with great honour and respect and assures her that he shall change his old ways. This shows that kindness pays, rudeness never. The peddler was not bad at heart but only a victim of his circumstances.

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