To his glee and joy, Matt the robber chief has a child: "a robber's daughter," and the next robber chieftain. It would be Lindgren who'd put it into Matt's wild head to have wanted a girl all along, and who'd make Ronia a fit, free-spirited, dauntless robber's daughter--just a little skeptical when she learns what robbers do. But worse is to come: Matt's archrival Borka has moved with his band into the unused half of Matt's Fort, on the other side of Hell's Gap, and Borka has also got himself a child: a son, Birk. Once Birk and Ronia have made contact--first, leaping back and forth across the gap; then, saving each other's life--it will of course be Romeo and Juliet. The rivalry between the two robber bands heats up, Matt all the more enraged because he can't figure out how to eject Borka from the fort. And when he captures Birk by chance, intending to imprison him until Borka leaves, Ronia vaults the Sap. . . and, in defecting, breaks Matt's heart. Ronia and Birk flee to Bear's Cave for the summer--an idyllic, laughing summer. But, come autumn, Ronia's all-knowing mother Lovis seeks her out, and then Matt himself invites her back--with Birk, if must be. The two unregenerate old robbers, Matt and Borka, will fight hand-to-hand and join up. But their offspring and heirs, without peaching, have another trade in mind. Ronia as the darling of the robber's band is a delight, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs crossed with The Beggar's Opera; and her relationship with Birk, if lyrical/pastoral, is also realistically touchy (and never mawkish). You can see exactly where this is headed, but you do want it to get there.