Fairies, little white lies and castles built of teeth

CoverI had an interesting exchange with my eldest child earlier in the week. It involved me telling lies and handing over money. If you’re interested, read on. The Eldest Child is at the age where he’s started losing his teeth. He had lost his bottom one and popped it under his pillow for collection that evening by the Tooth Fairy. Morning arrived, and he came bounding out of his room gleefully waving a ten dollar note.  Note to readers: Ten dollars per tooth is not a normal occurrence at our house. I had been caught short with not a coin to be found the night before, when it was time for me to make the stealthy exchange of extracting the goods without detection and depositing the loot.

Therefore on cue, I acted surprised and excited for him, (despite getting a disapproving glare and headshake from the bloke when he heard the aforementioned sum). I then semi-deflated Eldest Child’s bubble by exclaiming that he was really lucky, as most times the Tooth Fairy only left a coin. Obviously, she mustn’t have had any change left, so he had scored big time but i didn’t think he’d get that much every time a tooth fell out.

He was still pretty excited but then suddenly turned thoughtful and asked me, “What does she do with the teeth?’ “Huh?” I asked “The Tooth Fairy, what does she do with all the teeth she goes around collecting?” Being that he’s a boy I didn’t think he’d be impressed with the idea of her making jewellery with them, so I burbled something along the lines of “She uses them to build her castle, you know, just like bricks.” (I admit, that wasn’t much better but he caught me unprepared). “Oh” he said “Ok,”and off he went. A minute later he shouts from the lounge, ” You know I reckon there’s still probably at least ten more in here that have got to come out. That’s like $100 bucks worth.” He’d obviously been occupied doing the math.

This entire expensive episode requiring the shelling out of an exorbitant amount of moolah and concocting and enacting an entire secret scenario of little (white?) lies has since inspired me to investigate further. Why on earth do we do this? Where does this tradition originate from? What does she do with the teeth? Was it a cultural coming of age ritual in a different form that has somehow morphed into a whole body of folklore/traditional practice or is it just a fairytale? Also, why is it so important to us (parents) that our children believe in this fictitious tooth collecting being, to the point where we make up ridiculous lies?

I don’t have the answers to all of that yet but what I have found so far is this. We have a great selection of books for children based on the Tooth Fairy (even some boys are bound to like, I would recommend Horrid Henry tricks the Tooth Fairy). The Tooth Fairy’s Mistake is another great read. We also have some children’s DVDs on the subject. The Tooth Fairy starring The Rock is decent family viewing, I know as I have had to watch it 5-6 times. Check out our entire selection.

What I haven’t been able to find, is anything that can shed some light on this tradition that I am guessing is a fairly common practice in many houses up and down the country.

So there we have it. A true tale of children, fairies, little white lies and castles built of teeth. Do you have a humorous Tooth Fairy story or a favorite children’s book on the subject? Or better yet do you have any ideas or book recommendations that might help me discover the answers to my questions?

3 thoughts on “Fairies, little white lies and castles built of teeth

  1. anonymousse 22 January 2013 / 3:44 pm

    Try the wikipedia article. It is apparently a very old and widespread tradition.

  2. robertafsmith 22 January 2013 / 4:51 pm

    This is such a lovely blog! I hadn’t thought of the Tooth Fairy in years! Will have to ferret out the answer now.

  3. lynners 26 January 2013 / 1:40 pm

    There was a children’s book that showed the Tooth Fairy using teeth for the keys in her piano – can’t remember what it was called. it had no text, only illustrations.

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