(10/31/02 12:29:23 pm)
| Tooth fairy|
I have a patron who would like to know what is the origin of the tooth fairy legend. Does anyone know?
(11/5/02 7:50:17 am)
I've been thinking about the idea of the tooth fairy ever since this post popped up a few days ago. Yesterday I had my wisdom teeth pulled (oh fun) and this morning my son pulled out one of his front teeth (he's 6-years-old). He nonchalantly pulled it out of his toast and looked at me as if it was no big deal and why was I so whiny and laying on the couch like having my teeth pulled hurt... He knows he's going to cash in tonight and besides -- his teacher will put it up on the board so everyone will know. I on the otherhand have been feeling sorry for myself. Against my better judgement I looked at my removed teeth and had a fit -- insisting that I wanted to take them home. After all I still have all of my own baby teeth that my mother saved. So I looked everywhere I could to see if I could discover why we give money for children's teeth, why we save these shiny pieces of bone. I didn't exactly discover the fairy, but I think I have a good idea. There are many superstitions surrounding teeth. If a child is born with a tooth already in its mouth it is a bad omen. There were many charms associated with teething, mostly to guard the child from evil during this period of change. Up until the end of the 19th century fallen and extracted teeth were saved until death and then buried with their owner. This included milk teeth, which the mother would save for her child. I understand this goes back to an ancient custom that the body must be buried complete. The dead must account for all of the teeth they have had in their lives or they will wander in search of them until Judgement Day. In other instances people would salt and burn the teeth so that others wouldn't be able to find them and work evil through them. Interestingly, it was the mother's duty to do this rite for her children. I am guessing that somewhere in the Victorian era the fairy and reward was added to encourage children to give the teeth to thier mothers. After all, teeth fall out at school, during play and many other unsupervised times. What do you all think?
(11/7/02 3:55:52 pm)
| Tooth Fairy|
There are two articles on the Tooth Fairy ("The Tooth Fairy:
Perspectives on Money and Magic" by Tad Tuleja, and "The
Making of an Icon: the Tooth Fairy in North American Folklore and
Popular Culture" by Rosemary Wells) in _The
Good People: New Fairylore Essays_ edited by Peter Narvaez.
(11/22/02 12:16:56 pm)
| tooth legends around the world|
Just took my son to his first dentist's appointment and there was a picture book with lost-tooth tales and traditions from around the world. Pretty interesting. I didn't check to see if sources were listed, but a search on bn.com, amazon or the like might turn it up.
(11/22/02 12:24:49 pm)
| Throw Your Teeth on the Roof...|
This is the book.
Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World
by Selby Beeler
(11/27/02 10:52:19 pm)
| There is also a fictional novel|
Tooth Fairy" which is supposed to be very good. The author's
name doesn't spring to mind, but last I heard, it has been optioned
for a film.
(11/28/02 3:58:23 am)
| That novel|
Fairy by Graham Joyce, and a wicked little number it is, too.
NOT for kids, but a brilliant horror novel. (And I normally don't
(11/29/02 6:15:55 pm)
| falling teeth|
Wow Carrie! Thanks for all that research! I like the idea the mothers needed to collect the teeth to avoid bad omens, so they gave their kids money, kindof a Marxian twist!
Where I come from, if you dream that your teeth are falling out, it is VERY bad luck. Unfortunately I dream this all the time, and my mom gets very worried and whispers a prayer to ward of evil spirits, or more specifically, death. For some reason, falling teeth in a dream means someone is going to die, usually the person who has the dream.
As for my dentist, he says I'm probably dreaming that because I grind my teeth when I sleep.
In any case, it seems that people dream that there teeth are falling out is one of those archetypal dreams, like dreaming of flying. I wonder why. Z.
(11/29/02 11:00:22 pm)
| teeth dreams|
just two cents worth to add to all the other posts that are so rich:
for over 30 years, I have lisented to a LOT of dreams. As a psychoanalyst , just a few gen'l comments about teeth/tooth dreams. To parse the symbolism, think" grind, chew, digest, prepare, tear apart, open up, etc. as potential meanings inherent in the symbol. There are more as well. Falling out teeth, sharpened teeth, no teeth, too many teeth, teeth that grow, teeth that are gold, teeth of steel, animal teeth.... all these and more, we think, need the dreamer's personal association before they can be interpreted.
The premise is that dreams are a mirror into the unconscious and that what resides and fissions there is often personal and subjective and thereby needs 'the key' of an individual's personal association to the image, in order to properly and accurately unlock the meaning of the image... so that it might be made conscious and found useful.
(11/30/02 3:32:53 am)
| Tooth Mouse|
The tooth fairie doesn't exist in our culture. It is a tooth mouse.
He pays good money for good teeth, the bad ones he does not want because he uses teeth to build his house. You put your tooth in a shoe under your bed, and he collects it at night and leaves the money. If you leave something for him, like cheese or nuts, he may be more generous with the payment.
Be sure to lock the cat out for the night, otherwise he will not come at all!