The Tale of Despereaux is a 2004 Newbery Medal winning fantasy book written by Kate DiCamillo. The main plot follows the adventures of a mouse named Despereaux Tilling, who sets out on his quest to rescue a beautiful human princess. The novel is divided into four section. Each section tells the story from the perspective of a different character: Despereaux, Roscuro, Miggery Sow, and all together. The book was adapted into an animated film in 2008.
This short novel is the chinese version. Soft cover. 211 pages. Simplified chinese. Recommended for children who has achieved intermediate grasp of the chinese language.
About the Story
Section one tells a story about a small mouse born in a castle named Despereaux. He was born a runt with large ears and eyes. Despereaux unlike other mice spends lots of time reading. He particularly enjoys a book about how a knight saves a princess and they live happily ever after. One day while reading he hears music. He follows the sound and is led to Princess Pea and King Philip. He falls in love with the princess and speaks to her. Furlough,his brother, sees this and tells his father, Lester Tilling. Lester calls the mouse council, who orders Despereaux to be sent to the dungeon. In the dungeon he meets Gregory, the jailer, who saves him from the rats because Despereaux can tell Gregory a story.
Section II: Chiaroscuro
Many years before the birth of Despereaux, there was a rat named Chiaroscuro, meaning light-dark, nicknamed Roscuro. Roscuro like Desperaux is considered odd amongst other rats, and is obsessed with the light and soup. Entranced by the royal family's grandeur, climbs a chandelier during dinner and is seen by Princess Pea. She calls out to everyone to take notice. Roscuro falls accidentally and lands in the Queen's soup, causing the queen's death but nobody know why she died. Roscuro escapes back to the dungeon with the Queen's soup spoon. From then on, he always wears the spoon on his head, like a crown. Heartbroken, he vows revenge on Princess Pea for causing the event to happen and forcing him back underground. Meanwhile, the grief-stricken king outlaws soup throughout the Kingdom of Dor and orders the knights to take everything related to soup including spoons, bowls and kettles. He also orders for all rats to be hunted down and killed.
Section III: Gor! The Tale of Miggery Sow
Many years before Despereaux and Roscuro, a six-year-old Miggery "Mig" Sow witnesses the death of her ill mother. Afterwards, Mig is sold to work by her father for some cigarettes, a hen, and a red tablecloth to a man Mig calls "Uncle". Uncle occasionally beats Mig, especially around the ears, leaving her partially deaf. Mig decides that she wants to be a princess. Mig is then sent to work in the castle where she gains weight and begins to become lazy during her chores. Mig's main job is to go down to the dungeons to deliver Gregory his meal and, while there, she meets Roscuro and confesses to him that her greatest wish is to become a princess. Roscuro convinces Mig that if she helps him kidnap Princess Pea he'll make her a servant girl so Miggery Sow can become a princess
Section IV: Recalled to the Light
Despereaux escapes the dungeons on a tray of Gregory's that Mig brings back to the kitchen, where he hears her conversation with Roscuro. However, Despereaux is soon discovered by Mig and Cook. Cook, as a mouse-hating woman, orders Mig to "kill 'em, even if they's already dead." When Despereaux is attempting to flee, Mig chops off his tail with a knife but Mig did not want to, it was Cook's orders. Despereaux then spends the night in pain, sleeping on a sack of flour. He dreams of knights in shining armor, darkness, and light. However, when the knight removes the helmet, it doesn't reveal anyone. Despereaux begins to doubt "happily ever after and everything else that he has read and starts to weep. Meanwhile, Roscuro leads Mig to Princess Pea's room with a knife, and to kidnap the Pea and lead her to the dungeon.
The next morning, the castle is in a panic over the missing Princess. Guards are sent to search the dungeon, only to find Gregory dead from being lost in the dark. Despereaux is then seen by the mouse council who mistake him for a ghost because he is covered in flour. Despereaux forgives his father, who also believes he's a ghost, for sentencing him to the dungeon and goes on to seek the King. Despereaux tells the King that he knows that Pea is in the dungeon, but the King refuses to believe him because Despereaux is a mouse, which is related to a rat.
Despereaux then goes to Hovis, the threadmaster, who gives him the entire spool of red thread and a sewing needle, as a sword, for his quest to the dungeons. Despereaux cuts back through the kitchen only to see Cook making soup. However, Cook is delighted to see Despereaux because he is a mouse and not a castle guard come to arrest her for making soup. She gives Despereaux some soup to eat and he then makes his way to the dungeons. While there, Despereaux meets Botticelli, an evil one eared rat, who tells him that he will lead Despereaux to the Pea, however, this is only an act, to make Despereaux suffer.
Mig then learns that Roscuro tricked her into helping him kidnap Pea, and that Mig will never be a princess. Roscuro plans for Pea to remain locked in the dungeons, so that he can marvel over her brightly colored dress, but Despereaux arrives and Mig chops Roscuro's tail off with the knife. However, many rats arrive on the scene because they followed the smell of Despereaux, and the soup he recently ate. Despereaux threatens to kill Roscuro with the sewing needle, who then begins crying. Pea offers to Roscuro that if he lets her go, she will treat him with some soup, to which Roscuro agrees. Botticelli and the other rats are disgusted by the happiness of all that is happening that they all return into the darkness.
Despereaux and Pea become close friends. Roscuro is allowed access into the upstairs of the castle, and reunites the freed dungeon prisoner with his daughter, Mig, who is seen as a princess by him. Roscuro, Mig, the King, Pea, and Despereaux all join together for soup, as the mice watch in amazement.