The true origins of the Tooth Fairy are shrouded in myth, as it should be. Do we really want to know the origins of this fantastic creature? That would certainly take a lot of the magic out of the act of placing your tooth under your pillow and waking up to some good old cash. But, in order to satisfy your curiosity, I’ve researched the subject and come up with the following…
It seems that tooth disposal has always been a touchy subject. Back in the Middle Ages, it was believed that witches could gain control over you if they had a piece of you – hair, clothing, or teeth – with which to work their magic. In other times, the teeth were thrown into the fire so that the person would not have to search for their baby teeth (or milk teeth) after they died. So, it was important to properly dispose of teeth.
Some of the rituals around tooth disposal weren’t quite as dark. Some parents would bury their children’s baby teeth in the garden so new adult teeth would grow in strong and straight. And the Vikings believed that having a child’s tooth was good luck in battle, so they would often create jewelry from the teeth of children.
So, tooth disposal has always been surrounded by mystery. And children, it seems, have always been a little nervous about the loss of their teeth, especially the first one. So, instead of doing all of my research on the Internet, I decided to go straight to the source and interview the Tooth Fairy herself. Over the course of a lazy afternoon, and many cups of honeysuckle tea (her favorite), I “extracted” the story of the Tooth Fairy.
How the Tooth Fairy Got Her Job
Long ago (as you would have guessed), there were six magical fairies in the world – the Blue, Brown, Grey, Green, Gold, and White fairies. At the time, they did not know what their jobs would be, so they decided to have a competition to decide who would do which job.
The first competition was to see who would be the Fairy of the Water. The Water Fairy would be the first Fairy who could dive down to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean and bring back a single pearl. All of the fairies gave it their best effort, but only the Blue Fairy was able to swim hard enough and strong enough to bring back the pearl. The Blue Fairy was now the Water Fairy, and she was in charge of all the seas, lakes, and rivers of the world.
All of the other fairies were excited for the new Water Fairy, but nervous about the rest of the competition. All of them wanted an important job and wanted to do well. The next competition was to see who would be the Wind Fairy.
For this contest, the rest of the fairies – Brown, Grey, Green, Gold, and White – would race around the world as fast as they could fly. The winner would be the Wind Fairy. Again, all of the fairies did their best, but the Grey Fairy was by far the fastest and strongest flyer. The Grey Fairy won and became the Wind Fairy, and she was in charge of the winds and clouds, as well as the rain.
Now, the Brown, Green, Gold and White fairies were all getting very nervous. The next competition was to see who would be the Land Fairy. For this contest, the remaining fairies would dig into the earth to find a diamond. The first to find a diamond would be the Land Fairy.
The contest was very close, but the Brown Fairy was the strongest and the best digger of all the fairies. The Brown Fairy became the Land Fairy and was in charge of all the rocks and mountains and caves on the earth.
Down to only three fairies – the Green, Gold, and White – things were getting very tense. The next competition was for who would be the Plant Fairy. The contest was to see who could plant a seed and make it grow the quickest. All three fairies planted their seeds, but the Green Fairy coaxed her plant to grow first, and she became the Plant Fairy. Her job was to make sure the earth was always covered with trees and flowers and grass.
With just the Gold and White fairies left, all the other fairies were cheering them on for the final competition, which was to see who would be the Animal Fairy. The winner would be in charge of taking care of all the animals on the earth and helping them when they were in need. For this contest, they needed to coax a very skittish deer to come with them to the middle of the Fairy Village and lay down.
The Gold Fairy had the best luck with animals, and she soon had a lovely little doe laying down in the middle of the Fairy Village while she stroked behind her ear. The Gold Fairy was given the job of Animal Fairy, leaving the White Fairy without a job.
Heartbroken, the White Fairy didn’t know what to do. She was in tears while the other fairies tried to console her. They did their best, but no matter what they said, she felt like she had no use in the Fairy World. So she decided to leave the Fairy Village against the other fairies’ wishes.
Not long after leaving the Fairy Village, she came upon a human village. This was the first time she had ever seen people, and she was amazed at how big they were and how large their houses needed to be. In fact, she could easily sneak into their houses to “spy” on the people she found so fascinating.
She was particularly fond of a young human girl named Jessica. Jessica was about 6 years old, and she was the apple of her parent’s eyes. She always listened, was never rude, and she was cute as a button. And she had the most beautiful little teeth the White Fairy had ever seen. They sparkled in the sun when she smiled, and they made the White Fairy feel good to be alive, even if she didn’t have a job.
One day, as the White Fairy was watching little Jessica, she suddenly cried out and ran to her mother. “Mommy, my tooth is loose. Am I going to lose all of my teeth? I’m scared,” cried Jessica.
Her mother tried to calm her down by saying, “Don’t worry honey. It’s just your baby teeth. They are supposed to come out to make room for your new adult teeth.” But Jessica didn’t want to lose her beautiful little baby teeth because she was nervous. And so was the White Fairy because fairies never lose their teeth.
Still, after a few more days of wiggling her tooth with her tongue, the tooth came out while she was eating dinner. Jessica was devastated as she looked at her little tooth sitting on her dinner plate. “Oh, what am I going to do? I love my little teeth. They look like perfect little pearls.”
Her mother tried to console her by saying, “Well, why don’t you save your teeth in a little box. That way, you’ll never really lose them.” Jessica’s father had made a tiny little wooden box for his match sticks, and he gave this to Jessica for her tooth.
That made Jessica feel a little better, and it made the White Fairy very curious. She would love to get a closer look at the tooth. So, she decided to wait until Jessica was asleep and look in the box.
Unfortunately for the White Fairy, when Jessica went to bed, she put her tooth box under her pillow to keep it safe. But since the White Fairy was very small and very quick, she knew she could sneak under Jessica’s pillow and pull out the tooth box to get a look at Jessica’s beautiful little baby tooth.
When the White Fairy pulled the tooth box open, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Jessica’s baby tooth was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. It was more beautiful than the pearl the Blue Fairy pulled from the bottom of the ocean. It was more beautiful than the diamond the Brown Fairy had dug from the earth. She just had to have it.
But, being a good fairy, the White Fairy knew she would have to leave something in return for the tooth. So, using a little fairy magic, she dipped into her fairy bank and pulled out a gold coin to put in place of Jessica’s tooth. And, she left the following note:
You don’t know me, but I’m the White Fairy and I’ve been watching you for a while now. I think you have the most beautiful smile, and when I saw your tooth in the tooth box, I knew I just had to have it. So, hopefully, this gold coin will be enough for your tooth.
I will be using your tooth to build my fairy castle, and thanks to you, I think I have a job. I’m going to go around to all the young children who have lost their baby teeth, and if they put their tooth under their pillow, I will take their teeth for my castle and give them some money in return.
If you could spread the word to all your young friends, I’ll make sure and visit them when they lose their teeth.
The Tooth Fairy
The next morning, Jessica awoke and went to check on her tooth. Instead, she found the gold coin and the note. She couldn’t believe that a fairy had visited her in the night, and had loved her tooth as much as she did. And she was very excited about the gold coin and the note. After she told her mother and father, she went out and told all the children in her village.
From there, the word quickly spread about the Tooth Fairy. And she has been busy – and happy with her new job – ever since.