Where Did the Tooth Fairy Legend Come From? And Other Tooth Fairy Stories

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Who's the Tooth Fairy?

The Tooth Fairy kind of gets overlooked and overshadowed by figures such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; however, that does not mean the tooth fairy is any less important in a child's world. So who exactly is the tooth fairy?

The Tooth Fairy is a legend that has evolved into a household name, particularly in the United States. Children are told to leave their newly-lost teeth under their pillows at night in order to have it exchanged for money by none other than the elusive Tooth Fairy. Some children get a quarter or two, while others get one or five dollar bills. Is the price directly related to the size of the tooth, I wonder?

So let's find out exactly where did the Tooth Fairy legend come from?

A Tooth Fairy Pillow
A Tooth Fairy Pillow | Source

Tooth Fairy Legend Beginnings

The Tooth Fairy's true origins are a bit of a mystery. From everything that I have read and found on her beginnings, there are numerous theories and myths as to how the Tooth Fairy came about. As the Tooth Fairy is supposed to be a fairy, I would first imagine that the legend began somewhere in Europe where a belief in fairies is still quite strong. Perhaps Ireland, England, or Scotland?

Actually, what is thought to be the Tooth Fairy's origins stems from a piece of French folklore known as the "Tooth Mouse". Instead of a tiny magical being flying around the child's room, there is a magical mouse that replaces the teeth with some form of money. The legend is exact to that of the tooth fairy legend, with a different creature in the tooth fairy's place. The Tooth Mouse legend is one that can be heard in various parts of the world, including some of the South American countries. No, I'm sorry...the United States did not invent the Tooth Fairy idea, it's been around for a long time.

Other versions of the Tooth Fairy legend's origins include folklore from Northern Europe involving the power of children's teeth. When the children's teeth fell out, the parents would give them a small fee in exchange to use their teeth for protection in battle and in other dire times. The Tooth Fairy has also been equated to the Scottish Brownie, a small gnome-like creature that lived in a kind family's home and aided in daily chores in exchange for money or food.

However the tooth fairy got her (or his) start, one thing is for sure...the tradition of leaving teeth under pillows will continue far into the future. Is it the mystery and imaginations of the children that keep this legend going, or is it simply the magic and power of folklore at work?

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"Tooth Fairy is coming tonight"
"Tooth Fairy is coming tonight" | Source

Is the tooth fairy real? A personal encounter.

When I was a little girl, about the age of five, I believed in the Tooth Fairy. I was wide-eyed and imaginative, and yet I was also kind of a skeptic and fairly smart.

One night after losing one of my precious teeth, I was told to place my tooth under my pillow because the Tooth Fairy was going to come and take it. I always loved when the Tooth Fairy visited, because I always received a dollar for each exchanged tooth. This particular night I decided to see whether the Tooth Fairy was real or not...I was going to catch my Mom in the act of playing "Tooth Fairy". My mom left my bedroom, and I slid my hand under my pillow to insure my tooth was still there.

I rolled over and faced the opposite direction of the bedroom door, and I waited for my Mom to tip-toe into the room with my dollar in hand. However, I ended up waiting...and waiting...and waiting. And nothing ever happened. No one tip-toed into my room, no moment of sheer "A-ha!" I decided to roll over and check my tooth one last time...but instead of feeling that tiny little rock beneath my pillow I felt a piece of paper. To my amazement, I pulled out a one-dollar-bill! I couldn't believe it. I knew I hadn't fallen asleep, and I knew that no one had come into my room...no one with legs, that is. Was it the real tooth fairy? Did she actually exist?

Written and copyright © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 10 comments

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

Wonderful story. I love the folklore. I am sending to my daughter = her daughter will love it. Up and awesome.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Could very well have been, Dolores. Thanks!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

HI kitty - having raised 4 children this is something I've always wondered about but never researched. I wonder if the tradition goes on because children would not want a part of themselves to just disappear into the trash.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Seafarer Mama - How cute! What a lovely tradition to have. Blessings.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 4 years ago from New England

Fun hub, Kitty. My daughter usually receives a quarter and a small figurine from her tooth fairy. She writes notes that she puts with her lost tooth in a small box that her grandmother made for her. In the morning, she finds the quarter and figurine, and leaves a thank you note for them in return. :0)


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kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

cryptid - That's a really good point! Payments with interest. :) Blessings.


cryptid profile image

cryptid 4 years ago from Earth

That was a fun read. :-)

I recall getting a few coins for my teeth as a child when the tooth fairy visited. It was a nice source of revenue, but I eventually ran out of teeth. I am hoping when I get old and begin to lose my teeth that the payments will resume, at an inflated rate of course. I'm considering it part of my retirement portfolio.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

flashmakeit - Thanks so much!

everythingdazzles - I agree, I feel the same way. :)


everythingdazzles profile image

everythingdazzles 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

Cute story and interesting background. However, the stories began I am happy they bring so much excitement for the kids.


flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

That is the cutest story full some charming folklore and facts..

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