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'The Tooth Fairy'

May 22, 2011|By Stephen F. McAllister
  • "The Tooth Fairy"
"The Tooth Fairy" (Stephen McAllister, Story…)

"Mother, Mother!" Jenny shouted.

"What's wrong?" Her mother asked.

"I've lost another baby tooth!" Jenny proudly showed her tooth, and new smile.

"I see, "Mother said. "Let me hold it until tonight."

"For the Tooth Fairy," Jenny declared, giving her tooth to her mother..

"Yes."

At bedtime, Jenny placed her tooth under her pillow as her mother watched. Tucked into bed, Jenny asked. "Mother, tell me about The Tooth Fairy Legend again."

"All right, Jenny. Long ago, people believed in evil spirits and feared them. Storytellers exaggerated the fear, warning the Evil Spirit can bring misfortune if it possessed a child's tooth. Therefore, mothers carried teeth with them, but even then they could become lost. Then, one evening, a mother held her child's newly shed tooth."

"Just like you held my tooth!" Jenny exclaimed."

"That's right. But this mother dropped the tooth on the floor, and a mouse grabbed it, and ran into a crack in the wall."

Jenny sighed, "Poor mother."

"Yes, she was terrified for her child because the Evil Spirit could get it. That night, she couldn't sleep. The next morning, she told her neighbors her problem.

'Go to the Queen,' said one. 'She may be of help.'

"So the mother made the journey. Upon arriving, a guard escorted her to the Queen. The mother recounted her story, but the Queen seemed delighted. However, realizing the mother's puzzled look, she quickly explained, 'This is a solution for the baby teeth problem. The Evil Spirit doesn't like mice, and won't go near their nests. It's a safe place. This is good news.'

"Relieved, the mother returned home. Royal messengers announced this baby tooth solution everywhere. Everyone seemed happy."

"Not everyone," Jenny said.

Agreeing, Jenny's mother continued. "One day, a good fairy, who loved children, left Fairyland to watch them play in a village. She overheard their mother speak about the mice taking baby teeth to their nests. She disliked the Evil Spirit, but also disliked the mouse solution. Mice may abandon nests, or lose teeth. After sometime, she thought of an idea to better protect children. She would pick up baby teeth."

"And take them to Fairyland for safekeeping," added Jenny.

"You're right, Jenny. From the Evil Spirit. The good fairy requested assistance from her fairy friends. They were enthusiastic. 'Yes,' they said. 'We'll help build a Baby Tooth Museum.'

"Then she went to tell the Queen, of her idea. 'This is splendid,' admitted the Queen. 'Messengers will spread the word.'

"After informing the King, they wondered if people would give baby teeth to the good fairy, instead of mice. Changing habits isn't easy. So, the King offered money from the Fairyland Bank, saying, 'Each time you take a tooth, leave a coin in its place.'

"But where should children leave their teeth? They decided to...

"Put it under the child's pillow at bedtime, "said Jenny. "Then the good fairy will come that night, knowing where it is."

"Right again, Jenny, and leaving a coin, in place of the tooth, to remind children of her friendship for them. And that is how the custom came to be.

"Years later, the King, Queen, and the court gratefully acknowledged the good fairy's unfailing efforts, by bestowing a special title. She would forever be known as..."

"The Tooth Fairy," Jenny exclaimed.

"Yes, indeed," mother concurred. "To this day, she is called The Tooth Fairy by everyone. And she knows — as do children everywhere — that baby teeth are safe in Fairyland."

"Where they will last forever," Jenny whispered. Jenny went to sleep, dreaming about her friend — the Tooth Fairy.

Thanks to Stephen F. McAllister who illustrated his story. To learn more about the book "The Tooth Fairy Legend" by Dr. Mac, visit toothfairylegend.bravehost.com.

For more Kids' Reading Room, visit latimes.com/kids.

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