The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux


Kate DiCamillo

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tale of Despereaux can help.

The Tale of Despereaux: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

The Princess Pea looks down at Despereaux and smiles as King Phillip plays a song about purple night falling over a garden. The Pea reaches out and touches Despereaux’s head. Despereaux decides she looks just like the maiden in the library book, and mouse and girl smile at each other. Something amazing happens next: Despereaux falls in love. The narrator notes that readers would be correct to think love between a mouse and a princess is ridiculous—but then again, love is ridiculous. It’s also wonderful and powerful. The Princess Pea tells Despereaux he’s sweet, just as Furlough scurries past the princess’s room. He sees Despereaux sitting at the king’s feet and the princess touching Despereaux’s head. Furlough scurries away to tell their father, Lester Tilling, the horrible news.
Things fall into place for Despereaux as he allows the Pea to touch him and falls in love with her. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone sees his love for the princess as a good thing: Furlough’s choice to immediately go alert Lester suggests that falling in love with the Pea is the reason why Despereaux will meet the rats soon. As the narrator describes love, though, they suggest that perhaps love is the thing that will help Despereaux get through the ordeal to come. It might be ridiculous that he feels romantic love for a person, but love’s power may also make him feel strong and purposeful.
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