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.

Miggery Sow “Mig” Character Analysis

Miggery Sow is a young girl who eventually becomes a castle servant and helps Roscuro carry out his plan to exact revenge on the Princess Pea. She’s not very intelligent, and for most of the novel, nobody cares what Mig wants. When Mig is a young child, her mother dies and her father (who named her after his favorite sow) sells her to a man for a tablecloth, a hen, and some cigarettes. The man who purchases Mig makes him call her Uncle; he regularly hits her ears. This causes Mig to become deaf. Things begin to look up for Mig when, on her seventh birthday, she witnesses the royal family riding near Uncle’s house and begins to hope that she could one day become a princess, like the Pea. Her hope and her admiration for the princess sustain her for the next five years, until a soldier arrives to confiscate Uncle’s soup-making supplies and Mig as well (slavery is illegal in the Kingdom of Dor). Mig is brought to the castle to work as a paid servant. When Mig is sent to take Gregory the jailer his meal in the dungeon, Mig sings a song about wanting to be the Princess Pea—something that piques the rat Roscuro’s interest. Roscuro decides to manipulate Mig to bring the Pea to the dungeon. Mig is led to believe that she and the princess will then switch places, so Mig is distraught when Roscuro reveals that he won’t let either girl leave the dungeon. But when the Pea asks Mig what she really wants, Mig shouts that she wants her mother. This leads Mig and the Pea to form an alliance against Roscuro. Once they leave the dungeon, Roscuro, seeking forgiveness, reunites Mig with her father, who was imprisoned in the dungeon. Mig’s father treats her like a princess for the rest of her life to atone for selling her.

Miggery Sow “Mig” Quotes in The Tale of Despereaux

The The Tale of Despereaux quotes below are all either spoken by Miggery Sow “Mig” or refer to Miggery Sow “Mig”. 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 26 Quotes

Looking at the royal family had awakened some deep and slumbering need in her; it was if a small candle had been lit in her interior, sparked to life by the brilliance of the king and the queen and the princess.

For the first time in her life, reader, Mig hoped.

And hope is like love…a ridiculous, wonderful, powerful thing.

Mig tried to name this strange emotion; she put a hand up to touch one of her aching ears, and she realized that the feeling she was experiencing, the hope blooming inside of her, felt exactly the opposite of a good clout.

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“Most foolish,” muttered Gregory as he lifted the cover off the plate, “too foolish to be borne, a world without soup.”

Related Characters: Gregory (speaker), Miggery Sow “Mig”, King Phillip, Queen Rosemary, Uncle
Related Symbols: Soup
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

And while the mouse slept, Roscuro put his terrible plan into effect. Would you like to hear, reader, how it all unfolded? The story is not a pretty one. There is violence in it. And cruelty. But stories that are not pretty have a certain value too, I suppose. Everything, as you well know (having lived in this world long enough to have figured out a thing or two for yourself), cannot always be sweetness and light.

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 38 Quotes

And what of the light in the princess’s heart? Reader, I am pleased to tell you that the Pea was a kind person, and perhaps more important, she was empathetic. Do you know what it means to be empathetic?

I will tell you: it means that when you are being forcibly taken to a dungeon, when you have a large knife pointed at your back, when you are trying to be brave, you are able, still, to think for a moment of the person who is holding that knife.

You are able to think: “Oh, poor Mig, she wants to be a princess so badly and she thinks that this is the way. Poor, poor Mig. What must it be like to want something that desperately?”

Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 49 Quotes

“What do you want, Miggery Sow?!” the princess shouted.

“Don’t ask her that,” said Roscuro. “Shut up. Shut up.”

But it was too late. The words had been said; the question, at last, had been asked. The world stopped spinning and all of creation held its breath, waiting to hear what it was that Miggery Sow wanted.

“I want…,” said Mig.

“Yes?” shouted the Pea.

“I want my ma!” cried Mig, into the silent, waiting world. “I want my ma!”

“Oh,” said the princess. She held out her hand to Mig.

Mig took hold of it.

“I want my mother, too,” said the princess softly. And she squeezed Mig’s hand.

Related Characters: Chiaroscuro “Roscuro” (speaker), Miggery Sow “Mig” (speaker), The Princess Pea (speaker), Queen Rosemary
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Tale of Despereaux LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Tale of Despereaux PDF

Miggery Sow “Mig” Character Timeline in The Tale of Despereaux

The timeline below shows where the character Miggery Sow “Mig” appears in The Tale of Despereaux. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23
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Conformity Theme Icon
...wagon is filled with bowls, spoons, and kettles, and it also carries a girl named Miggery Sow. Her ears look like cauliflower, and she doesn’t yet know that she’ll help Roscuro... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Once again, the story must move backward before it can go forward. Miggery Sow is born years before either Chiaroscuro or Despereaux. She’s born far away from the... (full context)
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The narrator asks readers to imagine themselves in Mig’s position, being sold by their fathers—hopefully the thought makes the hairs on the back of... (full context)
Chapter 25
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The man who purchases Miggery Sow insists she calls him Uncle. Mig must care for his sheep, cook his food,... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
On Mig’s seventh birthday, she announces to Uncle that it’s her birthday. He threatens to hit her,... (full context)
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Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The Princess Pea asks King Phillip why Mig isn’t waving—Pea is a princess, and Mig should wave back. Mig, though, continues to stare.... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Later that night, Mig tries to tell Uncle what she saw earlier. She describes the “human stars” that were... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Years pass. Mig spends her days cleaning, tending the sheep, and enduring clouts to the ear, and her... (full context)
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...is against the law. He asks for Uncle’s soup-making and soup-eating supplies, as well as Miggery Sow. Since the alternative is imprisonment in the dungeon, Uncle agrees. (full context)
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Miggery Sow rides to the castle with the soldier, in the wagon filled with “soup-related items.”... (full context)
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By now, Mig is 12 years old. Her mother is dead, her father sold her, Uncle has hit... (full context)
Chapter 29
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On Mig’s first day as a castle servant, the head of the serving staff, Louise, sends her... (full context)
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Mig stands, searches the floor for the thread, and gives it to the Pea. The Pea... (full context)
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Back in the servants’ quarters, Louise tells Mig it took her too long to deliver the thread. She hits Mig in the ear... (full context)
Chapter 30
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At the castle, Mig has enough to eat for the first time in her life. She soon grows very... (full context)
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As a consequence for Mig’s inability to perform any task to Louise’s satisfaction, Louise sends Mig to work for Cook... (full context)
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...weeping and refuse to go back. Others take the jailer his meal and never return. Might this happen to Mig? Hopefully not, since this won’t be a good story without her. (full context)
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Shouting, Cook gives Mig her instructions: take the tray to the dungeon, wait for the old man to eat,... (full context)
Chapter 31
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When Uncle used to hit Mig, he always aimed for the ears—but sometimes he missed and hit her nose. This happened... (full context)
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At the bottom of the stairs, Mig bellows into the dungeon that the jailer’s food is ready. The dungeon doesn’t respond; in... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Finally, Mig’s candle reveals Gregory walking toward her, with a big rope tied around his ankle. He... (full context)
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...of soup, and Roscuro no doubt dreams of something silly. Roscuro whispers a response, and Mig shouts, “What?” Gregory doesn’t respond. Instead, he picks up his napkin and sneezes into it... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Just as Mig prepares to open the door into the kitchen, Roscuro asks if they could speak for... (full context)
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...the most unusual thing going on here: that Roscuro’s voice is pitched just right for Mig to be able to hear it, without him yelling. She hears everything he says. (full context)
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Roscuro says that Mig’s life has been tragic, but that it’s time for her to “make the acquaintance of... (full context)
Chapter 34
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When Gregory wrapped Despereaux in his napkin and placed him on Mig’s tray, he whispered, “back to the light.” Now, Mig enters the kitchen with the tray... (full context)
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...his head up and admires how beautiful the light streaming in through the windows is. Mig puts her face down close to his and asks if he’s going to run away.... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...causing Gregory to get lost in the dungeon. Then, late at night, Roscuro hides in Miggery Sow’s pocket as she carries a kitchen knife in her other pocket and a candle... (full context)
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Mig repeats the plan: they’ll sneak into the Princess Pea’s room when she’s asleep, wake her... (full context)
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...narrator acknowledges that Roscuro’s plan is ridiculous. Nobody will ever mistake the Princess Pea for Mig, or vice versa—but Mig isn’t the most intelligent, and she desperately wants to be a... (full context)
Chapter 37
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...The Pea hears her name and thinks it’s her mother, but she wakes up to Miggery Sow standing over her with a knife. At Roscuro’s prodding, Mig says the Pea must... (full context)
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Roscuro shouts that Mig is doing it wrong and emerges from her pocket. He crawls onto Mig’s shoulder and... (full context)
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...journey, and he’d like the Pea to wear the gown she wore at the banquet. Mig adds that the Pea must also wear her crown. (full context)
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As she dresses, the Pea asks if Mig will do up her buttons for her. Roscuro says Mig will not put her knife... (full context)
Chapter 38
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As Mig and the Pea make their way to the dungeon, with Roscuro hiding in Mig’s pocket,... (full context)
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...the Pea is forced to the dungeon at knifepoint, she can still feel sorry for Mig and how badly Mig must want to be a princess. This is what the princess’s... (full context)
Chapter 39
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The sun rises, “shed[ding] light on what Roscuro and Miggery Sow had done.” Despereaux wakes up to hear Louise and Cook shouting: they don’t know... (full context)
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...heard Roscuro’s plan and knows the Pea is in the dungeon. He’s also brighter than Mig, so he understands that Mig will never be a princess and that Roscuro will never... (full context)
Chapter 41
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...narrator has already explained, the king has several faults, one of them being that (like Mig) he’s not the most intelligent. But his best quality is that he’s willing and able... (full context)
Chapter 49
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...has to go backwards a little bit to what happened when Roscuro, the Pea, and Mig arrived in the dungeon. Roscuro leads the girls to a hidden chamber and instructs Mig... (full context)
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The crown is too big for Mig, so it slides down and rests painfully on top of her cauliflower ears. She asks... (full context)
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Mig says she wants to be a princess, but Roscuro says that nobody cares what she... (full context)
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The Pea gently takes Mig’s hands and says she wants her mother, too. Roscuro tells the girls to stop and... (full context)
Chapter 50
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Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...the princess, Roscuro blocks Despereaux’s way. The Pea begs Roscuro to not hurt Despereaux, and Mig says she’ll save the mouse. She aims to chop off Roscuro’s head, but she misses. (full context)
Chapter 51
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...a “miserable excuse for a rat.” But the princess asks Despereaux to not kill Roscuro. Mig waves her knife and offers to kill Roscuro herself. (full context)
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...and that’s disgusting. Roscuro asks the Pea if she’s serious, and she says she is. Mig notes that soup is illegal, but Despereaux says soup is still good. Crouching down, the... (full context)
Chapter 52
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...with the tablecloth, and the Pea has the prisoner released. Roscuro leads the man to Mig, his daughter. Mig doesn’t get to be a princess, but her father treats her like... (full context)