Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.
Roscuro, however, stared directly into the light.
Reader, this is important. The rat called Chiaroscuro did not look away. He let the light from the upstairs world enter him and fill him. He gasped aloud with the wonder of it.
'Give him small comforts!' shouted a voice at the top of the stairs, and a red cloth was thrown into the light. The cloth hung suspended for a moment, bright red and glowing, and then the door was slammed shut again and the light disappeared and the cloth fell to the floor.
Roscuro sat on the dungeon floor. The whiskers on the left side of his face were gone. His heart was beating hard, and though the light from the match had disappeared, it danced, still, before the rat’s eyes, even when he closed them.
'Light,' he said aloud. And then he whispered the word again. 'Light.'
From that moment forward, Roscuro showed an abnormal, inordinate interest in illumination of all sorts. He was always, in the darkness of the dungeon, on the lookout for light, the smallest glimmer, the tiniest shimmer. His rat soul longed inexplicably for it; he began to think light was the only thing that gave life meaning, and he despaired that there was so little of it to be had.
There are those hearts, reader, that never mend again once they are broken. Or if they do mend, they heal themselves in a crooked and lopsided way, as if sewn together by a careless craftsman. Such was the fate of Chiaroscuro. His heart was broken. Picking up the spoon and placing it on his head, speaking of revenge, these things helped him to put his heart together again. But it was, alas, put together wrong.
Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.
Kate DiCamillo - The Tale of Despereaux