Tooth Mouse, tooth fairy
dsgood at VISI.COM
Mon Jul 26 05:14:59 UTC 2004
From the archives of the Stumpers list (A list primarily for library
personnel faced with questions they can't answer):
Subject: dental doings: toothbrushes and tooth fairies
admonishments for care of the mouth: `One should rise early in the
morning and brush one's teeth. The tooth brush should consist of a
fresh twig of a tree or scrub free from any knots, 12 fingers in length,
shall correspond with the season of the year. . . . Each day one should
use a tooth cleaning paste made of honey, oil, and other substances.
Each tooth should be individually brushed . . . and care must be
exercised not to injure the gum. . . ."
Now, as for the tooth fairy, I'm sorry to be so long in replying.
Dennis Lien (I believe), as usual, provided an excellent starting point,
_Ethnodentistry and Dental FOlklore_ (1987) by William J. Carter, et al,
there is a chapter on "shed tooth rituals" (pp. 72-82). "There are
literally hundreds of adages, customs, ceremonies, and prayers that have
been associated with the loss of primary teeth" (p. 72). A section on
"tooth fairies" (pp. 77-82), suggests that around 1900 in France,
Britain and the U.S., the tooth fairy came to replace "more traditional
tooth mouse rituals." ". . . the recent history of these rituals is
poorly documented for all these countries except France." Apparently in
France, it's still as likely that a mouse will provide the reward as
that a fairy will.
"The earliest well documented American tooth fairy ritual dates from
1919, when a source from Utah said a fairy would come in the night and
leave a candy bar, penny nickel, or dime for a lost tooth . . ."
"The word tooth fairy probably did not become popular in the United
Sates until 1949, when Lee Rogow publused a short story by this name in
Collier's Magazine (124:126). The first appearance of `tooth fairy' in
an encyclopedia was apparently ALan Dundes's article in the 1979 World
I do not recall who first asked for the information about the tooth
fairy. Whoever you are, please feel free to request this book by ILL,.
Journal http://www.livejournal.com/users/dsgood/ or
All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
John Arbuthnot (1667-1735), Scottish writer, physician.
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