The day Bea arrived turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. Everyday at work I noticed the ringing in my ears getting a bit louder. And every afternoon, I came home to a few more tiny house guests. My theory about Ann Arbor had been confirmed by Bea. Apparently she spotted me walking on State Street and decided it was time for the fairies to pay me a visit. What I hadn't figured out yet was why. I had the feeling they would let me know in their own time, so I remained patient and tried not to ask too many questions. I had grown quite fond of my new little friends and didn't want to do anything that might frighten them off.
Besides, there hadn't really been much time for questions because I was kept quite busy making teeny tiny clothes. As it turns out, Bea isn't a very good seamstress and her little yellow tutu began falling apart in short order. So of course I made her a new one. Once the other fairies saw it they all wanted new outfits. After all the episodes of the hiccups they'd cured me of in the past 48 years, how could I say no?
Making clothes for someone the size of a tube of lipstick is a lot harder than you might think, however. Fortunately, I had plenty of wool felt and ribbon on hand, and once I got a few basic patterns down, it got a bit easier. The problem was that, because there were so many of them, there simply weren't enough hours in the day. After a few sleepless nights I made the decision to close my pincushion shop for a few weeks and devoted all of my free time to the task. Your probably wondering why they didn't just use some magic and whip up whatever they wanted. The answer is simple. Fairies are not allowed to use their magic for purely selfish reasons, and apparently fancy clothes fall into that category.
One afternoon I was stitching away when I noticed Lena hanging around the sewing table. she was the second fairy to arrive in my sewing room, and she and Bea appeared to be very close friends. She had large red spotted wings that hung down her back and red hair to match. In fact, she looked an awful lot like a ladybug. The minute I laid eyes on Lena I knew there was something special about her. She was so sweet and endearing that I fell in love with her almost instantly.
I decided to take this opportunity to ask her why it was that, unlike the other fairies, I'd never seen her fly. I knew she wasn't a pixie because she had wings and pixies do not. She hesitated for a minute as if deciding how much she should tell me. Then she took a deep breath and said, "OK, do you want the short answer or the long one?" Intrigued, I put down my sewing needle, settled back in my chair and said, "Give me the short answer first ..... then tell me everything!" Lena seemed to like that answer. She tipped her head to one side, smiled and said, "The short answer is that I can't fly because I didn't grant the wish made on my penny, so now I"m a Tooth Fairy." Lena let out a laugh when she saw my jaw drop in response to this news. "What do you mean your a Tooth fairy? You aren't all dressed in white. And you can't fly. How can you be a Tooth Fairy if you can't fly? And what do you mean you're "a" Tooth Fairy? Isn't there only one?" She seemed to be thoroughly enjoying this now. "Hold on, hold on," she said holding up her tiny hand, "Let me get comfortable. This is obviously going to be a long story." Then she curled up on the pincushion I had just finished making and began her tale.
All Magic Penny Fairies are indeed born with wings. If they do not grant the wish made on their penny within three days however, they lose their ability to fly forever. They are capable of granting any wish, but sometimes they choose not to. The reason for this is that not all wishes are good. Sometimes, people make greedy or selfish wishes, they even sometimes wish for bad things to happen to someone they are angry at or jealous of. This leaves the fairy to decide what is more important to them, being able to fly or following the fairy code to never use magic to do harm, or for selfish reasons. As you can imagine this is not an easy choice. It doesn't really seem fair either. Why would the fairies who make the difficult choice to do the right thing be punished, while the ones who make the selfish choice are not? But, as I keep being reminded these past few months, things are not always as they appear.
They don't know it at the time, but fairies born from 'bad wish pennies' as they call them, are being tested. Those who are not selfless and pure of heart enough to do the right thing, obviously cannot be trusted to only do good with magic. Though they don't lose their ability to fly, they are not allowed to ever use fairy dust. This leaves them with very limited power, scrounged up by stray bits of dust that they happen to come across. The penny on their back flips from heads to tails as a way to warn humans that they are not to be trusted. Actually, this can happen to a Magic Penny Fairy at any time throughout their lives if they break the fairy code. This, of course, infuriates them and they spend most of their time trying to cause mischief. That is why you should never pick up a penny that you happen upon if it's tails up. It's most likely a Bad Penny Fairy. In case you hadn't guessed, this is the reason for all those expressions about bad pennies always turning up.
The fairies who make the difficult choice not to grant the bad wish however, unknowingly prove themselves to be pure of heart and completely trustworthy. Therefore, they are the only fairies who are ever allowed to become Tooth Fairies. In the fairy world there is no greater honor. There is a very good reason for this.
We learned from Bea that small children are the most magical of all beings. Thanks to Lena, you're about to find out why. If you aren't already, you might want to sit down for this next bit of news. Are you ready? All of the magic in the universe is stored in a child's baby teeth. I know, it's very hard to believe but it's true. So naturally it follows that each time they lose a tooth they lose a bit of their magic. By the time they become teenagers, all their magic is gone and they become regular human beings. That's where Tooth Fairies come in.
In order to keep magic alive in the world, they made an arrangement with the children to leave them money in exchange for their teeth. They then take the teeth back to their workshops which are strategically located at the end of the rainbow. Using a special technique known only to them, they very carefully grind the teeth into fairy dust and wallah....magic!
If you're like me, at this point in the story you're feeling a bit like we humans have gotten the royal shaft in this whole Tooth Fairy scheme. I mean, if we knew our baby teeth were full of magic we certainly wouldn't spend hours wiggling them and trying to get them out in exchange for a few lousy quarters now would we? These sweet little fairies are beginning to sound like they might not be so sweet after all, am I right? Well, before you gather up your pitchfork and go off in search of the end of the rainbow to demand your teeth back, I suggest you read on.
First off, the fairies are in no way responsible for us losing our teeth. Furthermore, they don't have the power to stop it from happening. Even if they left us our teeth, we can no longer access their magic once they fall out, nor do we have the power to turn them into fairy dust to access the magic that way. So, before you get the bright idea to try it you should know that, unless you are a Tooth Fairy, you will never be able to grind up a tooth without destroying it's magic. Don't waist your time. Lastly, and most importantly, even though the fairies are in no way responsible for our misfortune, and in spite of the fact that we probably would not have given up our teeth to them willingly having known all of this, they remain eternally grateful to us for our first set of pearly whites. That's why they do things like bring us luck, grant us wishes, provide us with fairy godmothers and protect us from bad fairies. But, believe it or not, there's more.
Tooth Fairy work shops are not the only things at the end of the rainbow. There is also a huge building that looks a lot like a castle. Huge by fairy standards that is. Tooth Fairies refer to it as the library. Like our libraries, there are shelves from floor to ceiling. But that is where the similarities end. This library's' shelves are filled with tiny glass jars, one for every human who has lost their baby teeth. Each one is a labeled with the their name on it. Inside is the fairy dust made from the two baby teeth that fell from the spot where their eye teeth eventually grow in. These are the most magical of all baby teeth. The fairies decided it was only fair to make this magic available to us whenever we would like to use it.
All we have to do to release some magic from the jar is go to the place in our hearts that we lived in as children. Some of us never manage to reach that place once we are adults. Others are able to tap into it quite frequently without even knowing they're doing it. Have you ever had a day where everything just seemed to go right? How about a few hours doing something that made you feel like a kid again? Or even a brief moment or two when you felt pure joy just from seeing a sunset or a flower, singing at the top of your lungs in the shower, or holding a new baby. If the answer is yes than you've done it. And who knows, now that you know it's still there, you might just be able to use that magic more often.
Well, I don't know about you but all of this has left me exhausted. So, I'm going to leave you with a short recap and a few more answers to questions that I'm sure would have popped in your head once all of this had a chance to sink in. Here goes:
There are many Tooth Fairies, not just one.
They don't all wear white, nor do they all look like ladybugs. Like all Magic Penny Fairies they are free to choose how they will look. The one thing they all have in common is that their wings sort of droop down their backs instead of sticking out to the sides like the wings of fairies who can fly.
Tooth Fairies travel like any other pixie which means they usually use a sock, which happens to be very convenient for transporting teeth and coins.(if this doesn't make sense to you, I suggest reading my post titled Missing Socks, Hiccups, And Other Great Mysteries Of Life. It will clear a lot of things up.)
They get the money they leave under pillows from leprechauns, who are also fairies. Leprechauns do not have red hair and beards, nor do they always wear green. It is true that they are boys, and they do live at the end of the rainbow. Because there is always a bad fairy lurching about trying to get their hands on some fairy dust, Tooth Fairies never go to retrieve teeth alone. They always bring a leprechaun along just in case.
I think that just about covers it. If you still have questions feel free to leave a comment and ask. I'm sure Lena will be happy to answer them for you.
Unpublished work © 2011 Laurie Konevich