Have you ever wondered where the Tooth Fairy came from? Have you ever wondered what she does with the teeth, where she puts them or why she even wants them in the first place? While most fairies lived in a flower, under a mushroom or inside a hollow log, the Tooth Fairy (although she was not known as the Tooth Fairy in these days) lived under the roots of a tree on the riverbank. She had plenty of playmates; the frogs and tadpoles and lizards that lived next to the river liked to play with her. The fairy was able to find things that the humans had lost in the river. Fishhooks, beads, coins and other things that humans had dropped into the river would wash up on the bank right in front of the fairy’s house. She loved to pick up the trinkets and play with them. Each time she picked up a trinket, she could feel the memories associated with it. When she held a marble, she could sense the enjoyment the marble once brought the child that owned it. She could hear the laughter of the child playing marbles with his friends. She could understand how proud the little boy was when he won his first game of marbles. As much as she liked all of the trinkets she had, there was one trinket that the fairy desperately wanted above all the others: the baby tooth of a child. Every day, she checked the riverbank, hoping that a child’s baby tooth had washed up in the night. No tooth ever came. Why did she want them so badly? Well, children are rarely ever so excited as when they’ve lost a tooth. After all, losing teeth is big step in growing up! The fairy wanted to hold a baby tooth and know how excited the child was when he lost the tooth. But as long as the fairy waited, a tooth never came. One day, the fairy heard something while playing with her river friends. It was quiet at first, barely audible. As it grew louder, she understood what it was. It was the sound of children talking and laughing together, and they were getting closer! “Humans!” the fairy shouted. The game quickly ended as all the frogs and lizards jumped into the river. The fairy flew over to the roots of the tree on the bank and hid. A few moments later, the children slid down the riverbank to the water’s edge. From her hiding spot, the fairy saw three little girls, all barefoot. Two girls dipped their toes in the shallow water close to the bank, splashing one another and giggling. The last girl seemed afraid of the water, so she played in the soft dirt near the fairy’s hiding place. The fairy backed further into the shadows, hoping the little girl would not see her, but the girl was too close. The little girl saw the fairy, and her blue eyes opened wide with surprise. She reached out and touched the fairy’s dress, as if she were trying to make sure that the fairy was real. The fairy froze, not knowing whether to try to speak or fly away. Then the little girl whispered softly, “Are you a fairy?” The fairy nodded. The little girl looked around the underside of the tree roots. “Is this your house?” When the little girl said ‘this,’ she displayed a slight lisp. The fairy wondered, Could she have a loose tooth? When she looked at the girl’s smile, she saw that one of her front teeth was definitely loose. She flew close to the girl’s face and wiggled the tooth. The girl giggled. “What are you doing, little fairy? Do you want to wiggle my loose tooth like all of the grown-ups?” “I collect trinkets,” the fairy explained, “and I’ve always wanted a child’s baby tooth.” The girl wiggled her tooth. “Well,” she said, “I would give it to you, except it’s still in my mouth. When it’s out, you can have it, if you like.” About then, the other two little girls noticed that their playmate had not been talking to them for a while. “Louise?” one girl called, “Why aren’t you playing with us?” Louise looked over her shoulder and called back, “I was just looking at something. I’ll be there soon!” Louise turned back to the fairy. “If you want my tooth, I’ll leave it under my pillow for you when it falls out. Just come to my house and take the tooth whenever you can!” The fairy barely had time to say “Thank you” before Louise ran off to play with the other girls. That day, the fairy could barely contain her excitement. Finally, she could have a child’s tooth! She thought about how happy she would be to hold a baby tooth in her hands. Suddenly, she thought, Oh! What about Louise? I must give a present to her in return! So she searched around in her trinket collection and decided upon a large silver coin with a man’s head inscribed upon it. Later that night, she flew to Louise’s house, hoping that Louise had lost that wibbly-wobbly tooth. Louise was sleeping soundly, snoring slightly. The fairy hovered over Louise as she slept, peering into her mouth. Sure enough, there was a gap where the loose tooth had once been! The fairy squirmed under Louise’s pillow and found the tooth. She replaced the tooth with the silver coin. Then she flew out the window, back to her riverside home, where she could remember Louise’s excitement every time she touched it. The next morning, when Louise woke up, she found the coin that the fairy had left. She was very happy. Not only did she have a gap-toothed smile, but she also had money to go with it! When she went to school that morning, Louise couldn't keep herself from telling all her friends about what had happened. None of them said they believed her, even when she showed them the coin. Angry at their unbelief, Louise challenged them to try it with their own baby teeth whenever they were grown-up enough to lose them. Louise went home very sad that none of her friends believed her. Why should they think she was making it up? Wouldn't it hurt the little tooth fairy’s feelings if none of the children believed in her? The next day at school, one of Louise’s best friends came running up to her with a gap in her smile. She was holding a shiny silver coin. “Louise!” she gasped, “Last night, I lost my first tooth! I put it under my pillow, like you said. Look what I found today!” She showed Louise a silver coin in her hand. “The fairy brought me a coin too!” Soon, all the children were putting their baby teeth under their pillows. Every time, the fairy replaced the tooth with a coin. They came to call her the Tooth Fairy. Louise wondered if the Tooth Fairy would ever have too many teeth. After all, children everywhere were leaving their baby teeth for her! However, that was many years ago, and still, the Tooth Fairy still replaces children’s teeth with coins. As long as a child is happy when she loses a baby tooth and leaves it under her pillow while she sleeps, the Tooth Fairy will always be glad to take the tooth and leave a gift instead.