Petit Souris

I had the privilege of interviewing A as she was visiting from Europe. In the town of Jodoigne, Belgium, A shares an interesting take on how her version of the tooth fairy went. Growing up in a traditional Belgian household, A was raised with stories of the “petit souris,” the tooth mouse, instead of the tooth fairy known in American folklore. According to the legend, when a child lost a tooth, they would place it under their pillow at night, and the petit souris would come to collect it, leaving a small gift of usually $5-$10 in its place. This solely depends on the size of the tooth. Depending on certain families some would receive coins instead of bills.

A first heard about the petit souris from her parents, who used to tell her the story every time she lost a tooth. The tradition has been passed down through generations in A’s family and is deeply ingrained in Belgian culture. For A, the legend of the petit souris was not just a fairy tale but a cherished part of her heritage.

According to Belgian legend, the petit souris has centuries old origins. It is reported that people believed in the magical abilities of animals during the Middle Ages, a time of widespread superstitions. Specifically, mice were considered lucky and prosperous symbols.

In Belgium, the petit souris tradition is still very much in use today. Families preserve the memory of the tooth mouse by passing along the legend to the following generation. There are differences in the legend’s celebrations around Belgium. Children leave their teeth in glasses of water in some places, and in tooth shaped pouches in other others. The petit souris tradition continues in spite of modernization. Belgians of all ages are still intrigued with the narrative, which is reflected in family customs and bedtime stories.