The Tale of Despereaux is a Newbery Medal winning children's novel written by Kate DiCamillo. It was first published in 2003. The book was adapted into a film in 2008. It is the story of a mouse who enters on a quest to save a human princess whom he loves.
- The world is dark and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story.
- Despereaux looked down at the book, and something remarkable happened. The marks on the pages, the "squiggles" as Merlot referred to them, arranged themselves into shapes. The shapes arranged themselves into words, and the words spelled out a delicious and wonderful phrase: Once upon a time
- Despereaux did not know it, but he would need, very soon, to be brave himself.
- Reader, you may ask this question; in fact, you must ask this question: Is it ridiculous for a very small, sickly, big-eared mouse to fall in love with a beautiful human princess named Pea?
The answer is... yes. Of course, it's ridiculous.
Love is ridiculous.
- Despereaux marveled at his own bravery. He admired his own defiance. And then, reader, he fainted.
- "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light."
- If the rat had not looked over his shoulder, perhaps his heart would not have broken. And it is possible, then, that I would not have a story to tell. But, reader, he did look.
- There are those hearts, reader, that never mend again once they are broken. Or if they do mend, they heal themselves is a crooked and lopsided way, as if sewn together by a careless craftsman.
- When you are a king, you may make as many ridiculous laws as you like. That is what being a king is all about.
- And hope is like love... a ridiculous, wonderful, powerful thing.
- Say it, reader. Say the word "quest" out loud. It is an extraordinary word, isn't it? So small and yet so full of wonder, so full of hope.
- Reader, nothing is sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name. Nothing.