The children novel “Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter” was written by Astrid Lindgren and she let her imagination run wild once more and she took us into a surreal, enchanted forest filled with unusual, dangerous creatures and people which we don’t meet in everyday life. While reading these sentences we can immerse ourselves into the world of this unusual girl surrounded and loved by so many unusual people who would, in normal circumstances, be called robbers. In the work we have a description of a brand new way of life which is actually a fight for survival but in an unfair way. Order rules and people have respect for their cruel leader who is actually kindhearted.
Ronia proves that a child laughter and playfulness can soften any heart, even a robber’s. Her curiosity and mischief lead her into a variety of life situations and she has to suffer the consequences which actually teach her how to survive. She was guided by wittiness and handiness and she didn’t worry about the consequences. Still, persistence in making decisions requires a lot of courage in a little child. Sometimes persistence and stubbornness can identify with each other. Despite longing for a father who claims not to have children, she lives bravely in a cave until she sees her crying father and falls into his arms.
Many emotions, events, unusual creature’s and surrounding’s description make us read this book with joy. In every invented character we can find some behavior characteristic to people and we can also perceive their reactions and thoughts. A big impression was left by the dwarfs. They were kindhearted but a little bit stupid because they couldn’t think of a reason why anyone would want to hurt them. They just thought it was a coincidence. They always tried to make the best out of any situation, no matter how bad it was, and they didn’t see a problem with hanging a bed on Ronia’s thumb because she rocked it every time she moved.
It is beautiful to bring an adult to the forgotten world, where there are no limits and the imagination is the only thing necessary. Despite that the book’s aimed audience is children, the adults can read it too and find easy ways to deal with their problems in it.
Astrid lets go of the fact that she is a mature and serious woman while she writes her stories. She put herself on the girl’s level and she became one with the character. The people unfamiliar with her works don’t know the fun and excitement they are missing. There is unselfish love of parents, anger and forgiveness, longing for something which is nameless, true friendship in Ronia’s witty life.
In this beautiful imaginary world there is a lot of truth one which we stumble upon in our lives and in any time and any place. The time is limitless and every fraction of the story contains a piece of our long lost childhood. The one who finds himself in the work is lucky.
Genre: children novel
Time: once upon a time
Place: imaginary forest and nature
Theme: life and growth of a girl named Ronia
A storm raged on when Ronia was born. There were only bad and cruel fairies out in the open and they were bothering Lovis, Mattis’s wife, which was in labor. All of Mattis’s robbers were waiting with anticipation for the child to be born because it wasn’t born for a while in Mattis’s fort. They were waiting to see the child meant to be the next leader of the robbers. Soon Mattis, proud and happy, rushed out to tell the good news – the robber’s daughter Ronia was born. All of them praised the child just to suck up to Mattis. In the minute Ronia came to the world a lighting struck the fort and divided it in two parts. A protective instinct and tenderness awoke in the robbers as soon as Ronia was born.
Bork was MAttis’s enemy and the leader of another group of robbers. All of them had a territory of their own where they robbed the honest people. As Ronia grew up amongst the robbers she assumed some of their characteristics, behavior patterns and courage. It was about time she got to know the world outside her home so her parents took her to the forest every day to teach her to be aware of the evil fairies, grey dwarfs and Borka’s robbers. First Ronia got to know the forest and the dark lake. One day she fell asleep and woke up at night time. Ronia rushed home when she realized she had forgotten her bag. As soon as she grabbed it, gray dwarfs appeared and started biting her. She was lucky because Mattis and his robbers came along and saved her. In the upcoming days she trained to be fearless and to keep herself safe.
Her father would tell her in the evening, by the fire, how Borka’s robbers are just thieves and that they are being chased around by soldiers in their own forest. Ronia thought that her robbers were better, despite all of them being loud and wild. They were still her friends. Many times, wondering the forest, she would come to an abyss where the old Mattis’s divided fort was. Braver jumpers could have made that jump without thinking it twice. After wondering, on the other side of the abyss she saw another child and she was very happy that it was a “he”.
His name was Birk Borkason, Borka’s son, who moved into Mattis’s fort after being discovered by soldiers. Ronia was angry hearing that and during their argument they started to jump from one side to another. Borka missed and was left hanging. Ronia saved him with her long , leather belt. Mattis was furious when Ronia told him about the robbers living in his old fort. Mattis and his robbers wanted to chase away their enemies as soon as possible.
One morning, during breakfast, a guard came to Mattis to let him know that Borka was waiting outside to talk to him. All of the robbers, including Ronia, went to the place. It was Ronia’s first encounter with the “real” robbers, as she thought them to be. A fight broke out and it was mostly about MAttis’s fort which Borka started treating as his own.
Birk and Ronia found each other again and they continued their argument from the other day. They didn’t see the thick fog coming down. Ronia knew the forest but she was still scared. Ronia came through again and helped Birk by guiding him with her belt. After getting out of the fog they heard an alluring song. It were the underground forces and they would have pulled Ronia in if it wasn’t for Birk. She started to look at him as a friend.
That night Ronia wanted to get the truth out of her father. She heard about his robberies and kidnaps. Mattis only revealed a little bit about his life as a robber. He was determined to find out what Borka’s intentions were.
Winter came and Ronia used skis to wander the forest. She was very skillful. While skiing one ski got detached and went downhill and she got her foot stuck in a hole. It was the dwarf’s house and they are in general kindhearted but now they were furious because Ronia had destroyed their roof. They asked her why she had done it and she got scared. As the night came it became harder to pull her foot out. The dwarfs even placed a bed on her thumb for the children to play in. The evil fairies sensed Ronia’s trouble. They started to lightly grab and pull her. It began to snow and Ronia got even more scared. All of the sudden Birk appeared. He had found Ronia’s ski. When Birk liberated her, she cried of joy and relief. Ronia told him she wished he was her brother so they became siblings.
All of the passageways were shut due to the big snow. Ronia got a fever and Mattis was so scared for her life that he actually cried. After three days Ronia got better but she was very pensive. She didn’t know how to tell Mattis about Birk and about her wanting to spend more time with him. Ronia got tired of being stuck under the snow. She went down to the fort’s basement to explore. Ronia stumbled upon a pile of rock which was created by the lightning on the day she was born. She would go down every day to clean out the rock because she knew Birk was on the other side. When she made it Birk was passing by and no one was happier than her. Just when she was about to talk to him, one of the robbers came looking for something in the basement. Fearing she’ll get discovered she managed to drag him to go gamble. She wanted for the robbers to stay in the fort without Mattis knowing it.
Finally, the next morning Ronia and Birk talked. Birk was getting awfully skinny because they were running out of food in the fort. Ronia gave him her lunch. Birk told her all about the difficulties in the fort. Both of them found it hard to meet each other secretly. Ronia would steal flour and peas from her mother and gave it to Birk so that he could give it to his mother. Her justification was that she was a robber’s daughter and that she steals because of that. Undis thought a fairy was bringing her food. For Birk Ronia was a good fairy.
The snow started melting. Lovisa wanted to clean the fort so she forced the robbers to go and get their hair cuts. When spring came the robbers started working again and Ronia could finally go to the lake where Birk waited for her. Many wild horses came running and Ronia has wanted to catch one for a long time. They had to wait but they managed to catch two of them. They had to prepare them before they ride them. Ronia and Birk spent the day working with their horses and in the evening they took them to get some water. Ronia tried to ride her horse but she ended up in the water and the horses disappeared.
When Ronia came home she found her father furious and one of the robbers injured. They were hurt by Borka’s robbers while they were trying to steal their findings. Ronia was concerned because of the hatred between the two robber gangs. Every day there was a life to fear for. Ronia and Lovis wanted for Mattis and Borkato figure their problems out without blood and struggle. Ronia and Birk still saw each other every day and they were very sad about the rivalry and hatred between their fathers.
They came home incredibly happy one day, especially Mattis. He caught Birk and decided to use him to blackmail Borka and solve the problems without shedding blood. Ronia was out of her mind and desperate because of Birka. One of the robbers went to tell Borka all about Birk’s captivity and the meeting he’ll be having with Mattis in the morning. Lovis took care of Birk’s wound and it made Mattis angry so she chased away all of the robbers from her chambers. Early in the morning Ronia went to the place where MAttis and Borkawere supposed to meet.
Borka was sad that Mattis used Birk as leverage to win. He promised to leave the fort by the end of the summer. Mattis decided to keep Birk captive until then. Ronia jumped directly into Borka’s hand then. Mattis decided to liberate Birk immediately but he claimed not to have a child anymore – he disowned Ronia but Undina didn’t.
When the children were exchanged Lovis noticed looks being exchanged between Ronia and Birk. They confessed to becoming brother and sister. Since that day Mattis didn’t eat, got skinny and any time he would come down to eat everyone would get quiet. Ronia went to the lake to wait for Birk and then one day he appeared. Finally he appeared with a small bag in his hand. He decided to go away from Borka and to live in a bear cave. Ronia decided to join him.
Ronia waited for Lovis to fall asleep and then she snuck out of the fort. She came across the guards who were supposed to convey the message of her moving to the forest. Birk was waiting for her in the forest. They spent their first morning together planning their life and everything they needed to survive. Birk had already hid something amongst the trees. When they came back they found grey dwarfs in their cave. Ronia chased them away by yelling loudly. They spent the day decorating their new home so they were tired and fell asleep immediately.
The next morning they caught big salmon, made wooden plates and talked. Soon they saw their knife was missing. After blaming each other they got into a fight. Ronia left in tears and Birk soon found the knife under a pile of leaves brought by Ronia. She wasn’t coming back and Birk was worried she was taken away by the underground forces. He went to look for her in the places he thought she would be. He was already losing hope when he stumbled upon a mare wounded by a bear. Ronia appeared because she wanted to help the animal. She spent the night with her until she didn’t stop bleeding. After that they took her back to the cave and gave her a name. The fight was long forgotten.
Summer came and the wild horses stopped fearing Ronia and Birk because of their new pet. While Ronia was riding it, she was attacked by an evil fairy. She knew how to hide so she got out without a scratch. They had to walk to the cave because the horses ran away. In the cave’s entrance they were waited by Lill-Klippen who brought them some fresh bread. Lovisa wanted to know when will Ronia come back to the fort and she said she won’t be coming back as long as she remains disowned by her father.
Ronia found out that the soldiers caught a few robbers. They were enjoying summer, swimming, horseback riding but they were also afraid of the winter and evil fairies. Once while they were swimming the sky got dark because of all of the evil fairies flying around. They were ready to attack. Ronia was panicking, gasping for air and looking for Birk. She thought he had drowned when she heard his voice. He was hiding under a log. She dived to him but now they were in danger of the waterfall pulling them in. When they reached the shore, they had no strength left to go back to the cave. What they didn’t know is that Lovis was waiting there for them.
Birk was angry at Lovisa for coming unannounced and he didn’t even want to say hello to her. Lovis came for Ronia because she couldn’t live with Mattis’s sadness anymore. She told Ronia that he didn’t mention her but that he always called for her in his sleep. Ronia told her she will come home when Mattis himself asks her to do so. She fell asleep on her mother’s arms while she was telling her a story about a wolf. In the morning Lovis was gone. The only thing left was the scarf Lovis used to cover Ronia. Birk was sitting by the fire. He wanted a never-ending summer because he was scared of Ronia going to the fort when the winter comes. He will remain her brother and he will stay in the cave. They’ve decided to make the most out of summer because fall was coming. They heard the song of the underground which meant that winter was coming.
Fall came and so did the storms and rains with her. It was getting worse and worse. Ronia went to get some water while Birk was lighting up the fire to keep the place warm. When Ronia came to the well she saw Mattis in tears. In that moment all things bad and hurtful were forgotten. The father and the daughter were reunited again. Ronia didn’t want to leave Birk who was saying goodbye to her in his thoughts. She knew she will break her father’s heart if she doesn’t go back to the fort. To her surprise, Mattis changed a lot and he invited Birk to live with them. First he refused but, after talking to Ronia, he accepted her proposal.
Ronia and Birk said goodbye to their cave and horses who were their friends the whole summer and spring. Birk had a desire to visit his parents. Before leaving, Mattis told him that one of the robbers suggested that they should all unite against the soldiers. After a long time, Mattis’s robbers found a reason for happiness and laughter because Ronia was back.
The soldiers were looking for Mattis because he liberated a few robbers. Ronia wanted them all to stop being robbers. Borka came to warn Mattis about the stakeout in the forest. It was the first time they spoke about uniting. The leader will be the one who wins the fight.
After a long and exhausting battle Mattis won and he became the leader of all robbers and Borka still had some authority over his own robbers. That night the two robber gangs became one happy group. Birk swore never to become a robber and Ronia found out how to make an honest living from Skalle-Per.
Skalle-Per was old, weak and powerless and Mattis was worried about his health. He loved the old robber as if he was his father. When he died Mattis was inconsolable because of the lost of a dear friend and his father figure. When spring came they all came back to life. Kids were looking forward to going back to the cave and Ronia told Birk all about the silver in a certain mountain. It was the secret which Skalle-Per told her. Now it was their secret and a passage to an honest life. Ronia and Birk, with their parent’s consent went back to the cave. They spent the whole summer in their temporary home, until they saw the first signs of fall.
Characters: Lovis, Mattis, Ronia, Birk, Borka, Skalle-Per, dwarfs, evil fairies
Lovis – was a kindhearted and strong woman. She took care of her husband and his robber gang. She kept the peace and serenity in the fort. Lovis adored her daughter Ronia and taught her how to fight in the forest filled with unusual creatures. When her husband and daughter got into a fight she was the link between them. Lovis tried to explain to her husband why he must forgive his daughter and she explained to Ronia that her father still loves her. As all mothers would, she was scared for her daughter. Lovis visited her in the cave and she wasn’t angry about Ronia leaving but she wanted her back. Lovis was very sensitive and she saw the first to notice the brotherly love flourishing between Ronia and Birk.
Mattis – was Ronia’s father. He was the fear amongst the robbers. Mattis was sloppy and scruffy, as were all of the robbers. The birth of his daughter softened his heart. He wasn’t ashamed to cry. He always pretended to be heartless and rough in front of his robbers but in the solitude of his room he suffered and cried for his daughter. Mattis was stubborn but he gave up and went begging in tears for his daughter to come back. He agreed to unite with his rivals in order to protect each other. He swallowed his pride for the safety of his people. In the end he became the leader of the united robbers but he remained fear to everyone.
Ronia – was the only child and she loved her robbers. As a little girl she didn’t approve or understand her father’s work and she was sure it won’t be her job when she grows up. She was stubborn, had good intentions, loyal and loved the nature. Her curiosity often led to danger. Ronia was as sensitive as her father and she wasn’t ashamed to cry and tell how she really feels. She came to the peak of her happiness when the people she loved came to peace.
Undina – was Birk’s mother. She was loyal to her husband Borka and the robbers she took care of.
Borka – was the leader of the other robbers and Birk’s father. He was stubborn and scruffy as the other robbers. Borka respected victory and its terms. He loved his son, even though he got into big fights with him.
Birk – was Borka’s son. He was stubborn, persistent, brave and honest. As a boy he met Ronia when she saved his life. Since then they were inseparable. Despite belonging to rivalry gangs they became siblings because they saw infinite love in one another. He didn’t abandon Ronia even when things got hard. Birk wasn’t interested in becoming a robber and he promised Ronia he wouldn’t. Birk loved the nature along with its challenges and creatures. He is only happy and complete when he is with Ronia.
Skalle-Per – was the oldest of Mattis’s robbers and Mattis loved him like a father. He loved Ronia and called her his happiness. Even though he doesn’t go with the robbers, he guides Mattiss with his clever and wise advices.
Evil Fairies – lived on the other side of the forest with the other strange beings. They only attacked people and they killed him slowly and painfully.
The Gray Dwarfs – were one of the evil creatures. They only wanted to suffocate everyone and beat them up.
Astrid Lindgren biography
Astrid Lindgren (1907. – 2002.) is a Swedish writer that wrote over 30 children’s book, text for picture books and even a few movie scripts.
After she had finished her studying, she went to work for a local newspaper. After she had got pregnant, the editor proposed to her, but she said no and moved to Stockholm where she decided to become a stenographer.
The book that brought her fame and put her on the list of the 20 most translated world authors is Pippi Longstocking. She wrote more than 120 stories that were translated into 80 languages. A lot of her works were screen adapted and based on some of them people made cartoons.
Her literary works were awarded in Sweden and Germany, and she was the winner of the prestige international award for children’s literature Hans Christian Andersen in 1958.
She was a big fighter for children and animal rights.