A letter from the tooth fairy

My daughter left a note with some questions for the tooth fairy along with her most recently lost baby tooth. Here is a copy of the reply she received:

Dear Kathryn,

I’m happy to answer all of your questions since you wrote them so thoughtfully. I’m not nearly as worried about spelling as other people, so no worries there. I do wish your handwriting was a little neater so that I could read it without my spectacles.

You ask what I look like and the only answer that suffices is that I look like a tooth fairy. It’s important that I don’t look like a burglar so that I don’t get arrested. Santa Claus had that problem until he hit upon the idea of wearing unfashionable red with white trim when he visits houses in the middle of the night. Obviously I can’t take that route as I’m always quite fashionable. Fortunately tooth fairies don’t look like robbers and need not concern ourselves with such nonsense.

Very few kids think to write letters to me. I appreciate letters, of course, but they wouldn’t be special if everyone wrote them. Again, poor Santa has made a hash of this as nearly every kid writes a letter to him with their detailed (and unrealistic) wishes. I suspect it helps that I offer a flat rate on teeth. You won’t finagle your way to something more with a letter!

Many nations have offered me citizenship, but I’ve turned them all down. I consider it a conflict of interest since children of all nations lose their teeth.

As a matter of fact, the job of tooth fairy has grown so massive, I’ve had to franchise out regions to other sorts of fairies. That’s why you don’t hear so much about other fairies anymore. But there’s only one tooth fairy as far as you are concerned. (Well, also my assistant if I happen to be unavailable some nights.)

I’m not at liberty to tell you what I do with the teeth other than they are worth more to me than what I pay for them. In case you are worried about it, I don’t use them to build a ship or anything like that. (Ask your uncle about Naglfar, which is made of fingernails. Gross!)


Your Tooth Fairy


It sometimes takes a day or two after a child puts their tooth in their pillow for me to find it. Isaac might not remember, but I tried several nights before I found one of his teeth. Sometimes I get distracted by the books in your bed and Isaac had many books. I hope you are enjoying Wingfeather and Little House as much as I did!

Sydney’s fairy house is a delight, but since you erased the question, I will say no more about it.

I want to say that I’m not the best, but you are. Unfortunately you are right and I am the best.

Messes don’t bother me all that much. It’s a delight to play with your toys and hide one of each pair of your shoes and swap your dirty clothes with clean clothes. If you kept your room neat, I’d have a harder time finding things to do besides giving you money for your teeth.

I supposed what I do looks like magic to you. But dancing and art and crafting look like magic to those who can’t do those things. So if I use magic, so do you!

Every tooth gets the same rate whether or not you keep it clean. But I do appreciate teeth that have been well brushed in the mouth. They look nicer!

You erased the part about fairies being real, so I won’t talk about that. I do plan to show your letter around to prove that little girls are real, however. Some of the pixies don’t believe it at all.

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and other mythical creatures can cause parenting dilemmas. My daughter left out cookies for Santa this year and proceeded to give gifts to us “From: Santa”. (I got a cartoon of Malted Milk Balls, so I was quite happy with the arraignment.) When I asked her if she’d gotten a response from the Tooth Fairy, she was slightly put out that it was typed. I think she was hoping to do some handwriting analysis.

I’m reminded of this passage from C. S. Lewis’ “Myth Became Fact”:

What flows into you from the myth is not truth but reality (truth is always about something, but reality is that about which truth is), and, therefore, every myth becomes the father of innumerable truths on the abstract level. Myth is the mountain whence all the different streams arise which become truths down here in the valley; in hac valle abstractionis[1]. Or, if you prefer, myth is the isthmus which connects the peninsular world of thought with that vast continent we really belong to. It is not, like truth, abstract; nor is it, like direct experience, bound to the particular.

  1. ‘In this valley of separation.’ ↩︎