“Why would you save me?” Despereaux asked. “Have you saved any of the other mice?”
“Never,” said Gregory. “not one.”
“Why would you save me, then?”
“Because you, mouse, can tell Gregory a story. Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.”
And because Despereaux wanted very much to live, he said, “Once upon a time…”
“Yes,” said Gregory happily. He raised his hand higher and then higher still until Despereaux’s whiskers brushed against his leathery, timeworn ear. “Go on mouse,” said Gregory. “Tell Gregory a story.”
And it was in this way that Despereaux became the only mouse sent to the dungeon whom the rats did not reduce to a pile of bones and a piece of red thread. It was in this way the Despereaux was saved.
— Kate DiCamillo. The Tale of Despereaux.