The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tale of Despereaux can help.
Lester is Despereaux’s father and Antoinette’s husband. He’s also a member of the Mouse Council, and he’s very concerned with ceremony, tradition, and making sure that all mice follow the rules of proper mouse conduct. This is why, when he hears that Despereaux has shown himself to the Princess Pea and allowed her to touch him, he calls the Mouse Council and votes to send Despereaux to the dungeon—following the rules matters more to him than protecting his own son. However, Lester cries as he does so and later, he comes to regret his role in sending Despereaux to the dungeon. When Despereaux returns from the dungeon alive, Lester begs his son for forgiveness. Though the narrator explains that Despereaux forgives his father to save his own heart (rather than to benefit Lester), Lester is blown away by the gesture. To the end of the novel, he remains in awe that he was granted forgiveness.

Lester Tilling Quotes in The Tale of Despereaux

The The Tale of Despereaux quotes below are all either spoken by Lester Tilling or refer to Lester Tilling. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
).
Chapter 1  Quotes

While Antoinette touched up her eye makeup, the mouse father put Despereaux down on a bed made of blanket scraps. The April sun, weak but determined, shone through a castle window and from there squeezed itself through a small hole in the wall and placed one golden finger on the little mouse.

Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Did you break them?”

“Yes, sir,” said Despereaux. He raised his voice. “But…I broke the rules for good reasons. Because of music. And because of love.”

“Love!” said the Head Mouse.

“Oh cripes,” said Furlough. “Here we go.”

“I love her, sir,” said Despereaux.

“We are not here to talk about love. This trial is not about love. This trial is about you being a mouse,” shouted the Most Very Honored Head Mouse from high atop the bricks, “and not acting like one!!!”

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 35 Quotes

He dreamt of the stained-glass windows and the dark of the dungeon. In Despereaux’s dream, the light came to life, brilliant and glorious, in the shape of a knight swinging a sword. The knight fought the dark.

And the dark took many shapes. First the dark was his mother, uttering phrases in French. And then the dark became his father beating the drum. The dark was Furlough wearing a black hood and shaking his head no. And the dark became a huge rat smiling a smile that was evil and sharp.

Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 51 Quotes

I think, reader, that she was feeling the same thing that Despereaux had felt when he was faced with his father begging him for forgiveness. That is, Pea was aware suddenly of how fragile her heart was, how much darkness was inside it, fighting, always, with the light. She did not like the rat. She would never like the rat, but she knew what she must do to save her own heart.

And so, here are the words that the princess spoke to her enemy.

She said, “Roscuro, would you like some soup?”

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Tale of Despereaux LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Tale of Despereaux PDF

Lester Tilling Character Timeline in The Tale of Despereaux

The timeline below shows where the character Lester Tilling appears in The Tale of Despereaux. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...king’s feet and the princess touching Despereaux’s head. Furlough scurries away to tell their father, Lester Tilling, the horrible news. (full context)
Chapter 6
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
Lester tells Antoinette that Despereaux definitely can’t be his son—this must all be Antoinette’s fault, since... (full context)
Chapter 8
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...up of 13 mice and a Most Very Honored Head Mouse—gather at the sound of Lester’s drum. They meet in a hole off of King Phillip’s throne room, and they sit... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...“aye” rather than “nay,” and in the silence after the vote, the only sound is Lester crying. The narrator asks the reader if they can imagine their father saying nothing in... (full context)
Chapter 10
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to let go of his tail. Despereaux looks up at the Mouse Council and meets Lester’s gaze for a moment, but Lester looks away. (full context)
Chapter 11
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
As Despereaux comes to, he can hear Lester beating an ominous rhythm on the drum. Mice continue to chant that Despereaux belongs in... (full context)
Chapter 12
Conformity Theme Icon
The beat that Lester beats on the drum becomes even more ominous as the threadmaster leaves the gathered mice.... (full context)
Chapter 35
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...becomes the knight, which fights with the dark. The dark takes many forms, including Antoinette, Lester, Furlough, and Roscuro. Despereaux tosses in his sleep, asks the knight who he is, and... (full context)
Chapter 40
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Lester seems to have aged years since Despereaux went to the dungeon, though it’s only been... (full context)
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...a son could forgive his father for sending him to his death? But Despereaux tells Lester that he forgives him. He does this because he realizes that this is the only... (full context)
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...holds a vote to decide that this event never happened. Everyone says “aye,” except for Lester. Lester looks away and cries because Despereaux forgave him. (full context)
Chapter 51
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...puts a hand on her heart. She’s likely feeling the same thing Despereaux did when Lester asked him for forgiveness. That is to say, the Pea realizes how much darkness there... (full context)
Chapter 52
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
...behind a curtain, four other mice watch the scene. Antoinette observes that Despereaux looks happy. Lester whispers that he’s been forgiven, and Furlough says it’s unbelievable. But Hovis smiles and says,... (full context)