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Ronia The Robber's Daughter

Ronia The Robber's Daughter

The Little Robber With A Heart Of Gold

The story of Ronia the robber's daughter is considered to be one of the finest in Swedish children's literature. Written through the expert pen of Astrid Lindgren, the story has a lesson unfolding at various levels. It is not just a story of a robber's daughter striking a bond with a rival chieftain's son, but it is a story of sacrifice, courage and undying friendship.

The basic story of the book revolves around Ronia who is the daughter of a robber chief named Matt. They live in the wilderness in a castle. They were the overlords of the castle till Ronia was born, but at her birth there was a terrible bolt of lightning which made two parts of the castle. Soon enough, the other part of the castle was occupied by another band of robbers known as the Borkas. Because of living on common land, it was evident that enmity would develop between the two robber factions, which is exactly what happened. As a result, Ronia's childhood was restricted to their half of the castle and she was deprived of company of other children.

In time, she meets a boy of her age named Birk. A friendship develops between the two which is inevitable because she has not seen any other child of her age since she was born. But there is a reason why keeping on the friendship is difficult. Birk is the son of the chief of the Borka clan. The rivalry of the two clans becomes an impediment in keeping this friendship alive. However, the two children continue to be friends, only they do not tell their respective families that they know and meet each other.

Their little secret is revealed to their families by an incident. Ronia is in the woods one day when fairy folk try to capture her. Birk happens to be there and he fights the fairy folk and saves Ronia from being taken away by her. He does manage to get Ronia out from the clutches of the fairies, but ironically he himself lands in the clutches of Matt, Ronia's father. Despite having saved his daughter's life, Matt is unforgiving towards Birk because of the enmity of the two families. This is when Ronia decides to do something special to save her friend's life. She decides to go and give herself up to the Borkas in compensation for Birk. Her idea is that her father would let Birk go in her return.

But Matt's stubbornness gets in the way. He does not approve one bit of Ronia's action and takes an extreme step - he disowns her. Ronia is devastated, but she makes a plan for her and Birk both to escape. They live all by themselves in the woods for a while. It is only after several hardships that their families repent and bring them back, accepting their friendship.

There are many things that make Ronia the Robber's Daughter special. It is a great way of teaching the value of friendship and sacrifice to children. Elements such as presence of mind, bravery and telling adults they are wrong when they are, are also beautifully etched out in this Astrid Lindgren classic tale.

Ronia the Robber's Daughter on Wikipedia

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