Tooth Fairy

Informant: So. Tooth Fairy. I, actually, was always kinda questioning the Tooth Fairy. So when I was – I think it was probably around the third grade or so, when you lose your molars – I took my last molar, and – for us, instead of under the pillow, we put it in a glass of water, and set it by the bedside.

Me: Why??

Informant: That’s just how it happened. 

Me: They never told you, “You have to do this otherwise the Tooth Fairy won’t come…?”

Informant: That’s just how it was done. You don’t question it. That’s just how it was done. And you’d wake up and there’d be a quarter in the glass of water. 

Me: So… Your parents just fished into glasses of water to find teeth?

Informant: No, the tooth would still be in there. 

Me: You kept your tooth?

Informant: Yeah, got to keep the tooth.

Me: That’s… so different from everything else I’ve ever heard!

Informant: That’s the way we did it. So for my last tooth, I actually put it in the glass of water, and then I hid the glass, so I could prove – ‘cuz if it was smart enough to find it by my bed, should be smart enough to find it someplace else. Yeah. No. Didn’t find it. And I was like “A ha! Gotcha on that one.” 

The informant is the interviewer’s father. He is in his late fifties, and grew up in a rural farm town in Washington State. He was a child going through the whole thing with the Tooth Fairy in the early 70s. He’s also the youngest of three, with both older siblings considerably older, so his parents had gone through the Tooth Fairy rituals multiple times when he started losing teeth.

I also had questions about the Tooth Fairy, as I’m sure many people did, so I also hid one of my teeth and didn’t tell my parents. However, I did not ever put my teeth in glasses of water, or get money in the water. It was always done under my pillow, and everyone else I’ve talked to besides my father put teeth under their pillow too. I have no idea where the glass of water idea came from, and neither does he. I feel compelled to ask my grandparents now, or look into whether or not that was popular in Norway in the olden days, because my family is very Norwegian and adheres to those types of traditions sometimes.