August 1st, 2019
Did you know that Tooth Fairies come in many different forms in Europe, as well as their traditions? Here are some examples...
In Spain, do not expect a kind fairy to come at night and replace lost tooth while you are asleep: this role has been given to a nice mouse instead, whose full name is Ratoncito Pérez. Among all European countries, Spaniards are almost the only ones to actually give a name to their Tooth creature ! Ratoncito Pérez first appeared in “Cuentos, oraciones, adivinanzas y refranes populares” (1877), as the husband of “La Ratita Presumida” (The Vain Little Mouse). This character later inspired Luis Coloma, who made him part of the Spanish traditional folklore by turning him into a sort of Tooth Fairy… A true celebrity!
France as well has its little mouse ! The most likely origin of the Petite Souris comes from a French tale of the seventeenth century by Madame d’Aulnoy: La Bonne Petite Souris. It tells the story of a fairy that turns into a mouse to help a queen defeat an evil king, hiding under the pillow of the king and making him drop all his teeth. As it is so often the case, the tiny French mouse will procure teeth left under pillows, replacing them with either cash or sweets…
In Ireland, the Tooth fairy is sometimes known as Anna Bogle, who appeared in a recent fairy tale. Anna Bogle is a mischievous young leprechaun girl who was playing in the forest one day and, to her dismay, knocks out a front tooth! She thinks she is ugly and tries everything she can think of to put it back, until she has an idea…to get a human child’s tooth to put in its place. But leprechauns are not creatures who steal, so Anna leaves a piece of leprechaun gold behind for the child whose tooth she takes…
In Norway, children drop their tooth in a glass of water on their nightstand. It is much easier for Tannfe, the Norwegian Tooth Fairy, to find the tooth in clear water than in opaque pillows—her eyes are so very old and tired. In the morning, sunk in the bottom of the glass, children will find a silver coin. Interestingly, the tradition of the Tooth Fairy may come originally from Norway. The character is first recorded in writings as early as the Eddas, which are the earliest written record of Norse and Northern European traditions. The Old Norse term “tannfé“ meant initially a present given as a reward to a baby for its first tooth – not a fairy.
What a funny tradition! Bulgarian children simply throw their tooth on the roof of their house. And when they throw the tooth, they say: “На ти Вранке костен зъб, дай ми железен” which means “Great Raven, I give you my bone tooth, give me an iron tooth!” Throwing up the tooth is actually a symbol of walking up, progress, good future and prosperity… ¨Give me an iron tooth¨ means here that the children wish not to have problems with his/her new tooth, that it shall be strong like iron. But children’s in Bulgaria are not given money or candy in exchange… What a selfish raven!