We have been asked many times about the origins of the Tooth Fairy. Most children ask them on the first day of kindergarten or share stories with friends the first time they have a loose tooth. Is there a boy and a girl Tooth Fairy? How many are there? Can they all fly? Are they all fairies or animals? Are all Tooth Fairies magical? What do they do with all of the teeth they collect? Noone but the Tooth Fairies themselves know the whole history of the Tooth Fairy, not even the worker bees at Hold The Magic. However, we have worked closely with our friend Lucy Tooth for a while and she has told us some fun stories of the magical beginnings of the Tooth Fairy and stories from across the whole world. Here is the history of the Tooth Fairy as best we know.
A Long Long Time Ago
The first story we were told of the Tooth Fairy started long long ago. When the world was all purple and there were more plants than animals. Pure magic covered the earth, it glistened on the leaves of the trees and glittered through all the streams and oceans. Every living thing was brand new and, more often than not, it could fly. These were the humble beginnings of the Tooth Fairy. Not much was written about this and the stories that the Tooth Fairies know now were all told as poems because it was easier to remember a poem than a long story when there were no paper or pens! Here is a poem of the first Tooth Fairy, recited by our very own friend Lucy Tooth;
Dawn and day,
Night time sleeps,
I bring magic to all living beings!
In snow and rain,
Sunshine and fog,
My magic sparkles through it all!
I love to fly,
I love to sing,
I love to bring magic,
Back in the Days of Yore
There have been many stories of the Tooth Fairy since then. Fairies are plentiful, if you know where to look, and Fairyland isn’t too far from where we live. When people see fairies they love to tell people about it, and sometimes their descriptions of what happens to all those loose teeth are amazing. Here are some stories and descriptions we have heard of the Tooth Fairy back in the days of yore.
Old Man Tooth
Some people say that when they were drifting off to sleep, after their loose tooth had fallen out, that they caught a glimpse of a little old man Tooth Fairy with a tiny red sack full of sparkling teeth placing a gift under their pillow. The thing is that he always noticed if they were awake and blew some extra fairydust to make sure they were completely asleep before leaving. So many children all over the world think that his visit may have just been a dream. When they woke in the morning, they found their treasure under the pillow all the same, so who knows if Old Man Tooth is out there. We believe so.
We have heard many stories of the Tooth Fairy, but this is one of our favorites. Did you know that Vikings were supposedly Tooth Fairies too? In Nordic culture, as long ago as 1200, which was over 800 years ago, there are records of tand-fé or ‘tooth fee’. The Vikings believed that children’s teeth brought good luck in battle, so they would offer coins or gifts for them once they had become loose and fallen out. The Vikings would then attach the teeth to a piece of string and wear them around their neck to be lucky warriors.
Jenny Greenteeth was a witch who lived in Lancashire, England a long long time ago. Jenny lived amongst the marsh lands near water and never ever brushed her teeth. Her teeth were as green as the marsh lands and ponds that she lived in, and this made people feel scared of her, especially because her breath was so smelly. Witches live for a very long time, which means they have a lot of time to learn new habits. We heard that Jenny had a special visit from a well-known Tooth Fairy and she learned all about dental hygiene. Now her teeth are all sparkly and white –even if she is missing a few.
BONUS: Click here to download a precious color-it-yourself Tooth Fairy Welcome Poster.
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Once Upon A Time
In more modern times, there have been stories written and many books on the subject of the Tooth Fairy. Discussions on the first day of kindergarten and when your child gets their first loose tooth may vary. It is not only the American Tooth Fairies who bring magic and imagination to the children of the world but many other creatures and stories have been shared. Here are just a few that we have heard.
El Ratoncito Pérez
El Ratoncito Pérez is a tricky little mouse who many children have assuredly seen exchanging pearly whites for his treasures. It is said that the first child he was known to visit was a Spanish Prince in 1894 - that is more than 100 years ago! There are stories of Ratoncito Pérez tricking cats and other household pets as he made his way to the beds of sleeping children to deliver his treasures. We heard that the story of this famous Tooth Fairy is kept in a vault in the palace in a place called Madrid which is all the way in Spain. There is a plaque in the same city commemorating the tale of the famous Ratoncito Pérez.
La Petite Souris and Topolino
There have been further sightings of the little mice across France, Italy, Germany, Mexico and even as far as South Africa. These little Tooth Fairies seem to travel far! The true story of these mice is unknown. We aren’t sure if they are really mice or just fairies with a great disguise, maybe all mice are magical? We asked Lucy Tooth and she said she wasn't sure either, but then, she winked when she said it. Some little mice take teeth and exchange them for coins or treasures, and some even leave the teeth behind. Others can’t find the teeth unless they are placed in a shoe, or carefully wrapped and placed under a child’s bed. Some say they use the teeth to make mouse-sized piano keys for their parties. It seems that even Tooth Fairies have a variety of traditions, though in all of them we see, that keeping teeth clean plays a big part in the process. We all know that piano keys are bright and sparkling white!
The American Tooth Fairies
About 100 years ago in 1900 the first story of the ancestors of Lucy Tooth was told in America. The fairies with sparkling wings and magical powers who flew to the pillows of sleeping children and exchanged teeth for coins and treasures. Some children kept their lost tooth in a matchbox to make it easier for the Tooth Fairies to find. Others in a Fairy Tooth Plushie. At first, noone was sure what they looked like, but by1949 there was a specific mention in the World Book of the Tooth Fairy, many people started to think of her as one fairy with a magical wand and a shimmering dress like a Disney princess. Soon, even radio presenters and newspaper writers were sharing news about this magical fairy that was bringing so much joy to children.
Nowadays we have lots of ideas about the Tooth Fairy and we have learned that there is absolutely more than one Tooth Fairy out there - think of Lucy Tooth! Lucy is the tiniest fairy of the Tooth family. Tooth Fairies believe that each baby tooth holds a story and a dream. Lucy Tooth realized that she wanted to give more than money to help them hold the magic of childhood as they grew older.She wanted to deliver magical treasures from Fairyland in exchange for clean, shiny teeth. She was so excited and got all her fairy friends involved too! With each tiny gift, they write Tooth Fairy letters to share stories about their friends (like the Ladybug Queen and Captain Flee) and their magical adventures. You can read the full story of Lucy Tooth in this beautifully illustrated, hardcover book.
All across the world there are representations of the Tooth Fairy, from tiny mice to sparkling princesses, and magical fairies. One thing stays the same in every account - clean, healthy teeth are what these magical beings want to see and collect! Whether it’s under your pillow, left in a shoe, or in a Fairy Tooth friendly plushie! Keep your teeth clean and perhaps you can Hold The Magic too.