I like odd holidays. Like Tooth Fairy Day on February 28th! Although here in Italy, we’d have to call it Tooth Topolino Day, in honor of Italy’s very own tooth mouse!
No one seems to know the origin of this holiday or even why it started. But I think probably it all began in Spain, with Pérez Mouse, who worked for the king. Back when the king sold all his baby teeth to Pérez.
Now, tooth buying may seem like an odd business. But old Pérez Mouse must have made it work somehow. And any job is OK, as long as it’s honest!
But let’s move on to our Italian Tooth Mouse, known simply as Topolino (Little Mouse)…
Don’t ask me just how this grandson of Pérez wound up in Italy. I doubt anyone really knows. But it probably had something to do with lack of employment in Spain. The tooth mouse seems to go through jobs pretty quickly. It really doesn’t doesn’t take kids too long to run out of baby teeth. And of course, it wouldn’t do to start sneaking into houses with pliers to go after those adult teeth. No, that wouldn’t do at all!
So Topolino probably decided to try a less worked area. But at any rate, he’s been here, working nights, a long time now. Sneaking into houses, and searching for hidden baby teeth, which he usually finds under pillows. Although some kids are pretty clever, and hide them in tiny holes in the wall or floor. Or even under a table leg!
None of that gets Topolino down though. No, not him! He comes from a long line of tooth hunters. And there’s never yet been a tooth he couldn’t find!
But tell your kids, “Never fear!” For this good little mouse is no thief in the night! He knows stealing is wrong. So he never departs without leaving at least one coin under the tooth owner’s pillow.
And how much does he pay? Well, that depends on the tooth’s condition!
If the tooth is none too clean, he only leaves a small reward. Along with a note saying something like, “What’s the matter, did you lose your toothbrush?” Or, “Haven’t you heard of dental floss?”
But a clean, shiny tooth gets rewarded with more money and a note of praise. “Great job! Keep up the good brushing!”
A note with a giant frown face and one cent is all a child should expect from a tooth with cavities… Although perhaps Topolino should leave a new toothbrush and toothpaste; that kid surely needs them! And poor Topolino. I doubt he finds much resale value in rotten teeth!
Some try to say that Topolino sometimes leaves candy instead of money. But I don’t believe a word of it! That would be like working himself out of a job. All the other teeth would rot and fall out. And then where would he be?
At any rate, Italian kids love their Topolino as much, I’m sure, as Spanish kids have always loved Pérez Mouse! What kid wouldn’t love such a plucky little mouse? Although the pay might have something to do with it too!
What?? You don’t believe in Topolino? Shame on you! He’s been to our house many times!
And at any rate, we find even greater proof, in this plaque from Madrid, of Topolino’s grandfather Pérez Mouse! Which reads: Pérez Mouse lived across the street from Arenal number 8 in the basement of Carlos Prast, right in front of a large pile of Gruyere cheese…
(At least according to Google translate. My Spanish is a little rusty!) 🙂 But it sounds like Mouse Paradise, doesn’t it?!
- Perez Tooth Mouse via Wikimedia Commons, No restrictions.
- Pérez plaque from Spain by Jlordovas – Own work, via Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain.