How inflation and times have changed since the old days! I remember when daddy told us that he earned a dollar a day during the 1930’s depression. A quarter was a lot of money when I was growing up. It bought five cokes. It bought two loaves of bread.
It was not the tooth fairy that took our tooth and replaced it with a nickel, or a dime and sometimes even a quarter. It was “La Petite Souris.” In Cajun lore “la petite souris” played two parts, one in which the bad little mouse was used to discipline unruly children and another as a good little mouse who was our tooth fairy. Kids were easily fascinated by all the “tit souris” stories. What a good distraction for children who were bothered by a toothache!
The custom of burying or hiding a baby’s tooth dates back to ancient traditions centuries ago. In Great Britain, it was very common for young children to believe in the tooth fairy. It was the most popular story told to young children. The custom in England was different than in the United States. There, it was customary for the tooth fairy to slip a gift under a child’s pillow to replace the child’s sixth fallen tooth only. The tooth, as well as money, was left under the pillow; money was given as a reward and the tooth as a sign that the youngster was growing up and needed a larger set of teeth.
Tooth fairies, although called by different names, are believed by children in most countries. In Italy, it is called the Fatina. In France, it is La Petite Souris.
In some Far East countries, when a child loses a tooth, the usual custom is that the child should throw it on the roof if it came from the lower jaw or into the space beneath the floor if it came from the upper jaw.
Today, my granddaughter came to visit with the second front tooth missing, and we’re so close to Christmas! It reminded me of the Christmas song, “All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” The lyrics for the song originated with composer Don Gardner and was published in 1946.
There have been many variations of the song. It was so popular in England that at the height of Beatlemania, a comedienne name Dora Bryan recorded “All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle.”
Few songs have been recorded by so many recording artists as this one. Some well known artists included Nat King Cole and, more recently, George Strait. It seems that every Christmas season a new version of the song is recorded by some artist.
I hope that all youngsters enjoy the song this Christmas season. Surely they will be reminded every time they hear the most popular version of the song, recorded by the Chipmunks.
The Les Vieux Temps family wishes everyone a joyous holiday season.
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