Although Mythology and Folklore differ greatly across the world, what is similar is that regardless of location they have helped shape both the evolution of humanity and our way of thinking from as long ago as 2000 BC.

However, as the years have passed, especially during the last century, mythology and folklore have become less relevant and more rarely discussed in society, arguably due to the increase of technology. Nevertheless, they are still prevalent in certain societies and in different situations, some more obvious than you would assume.

The Tooth Fairy is the perfect example of this. Taking teeth from under children's pillows is a right of passage for many and helps to create a magical childhood. It is one of the most broadly known and adopted myths created centuries ago, however, the history behind the myth is even older. 

The importance of baby teeth stems from the European tradition, epitomised by the Vikings. They would create a chain of their loved ones' baby teeth when entering battle to serve as protection and luck.

Another use of teeth was to bury them under a tree to encourage the growth of adult teeth and protect children from bad luck. The famous Tooth Fairy we know today appeared after the Second World War in America encouraged and facilitated by characters such as Tinkerbell from Walt Disney. While the Tooth fairy is the most popular version of disposing of baby teeth, it is not the only one.

A mouse or rodent taking teeth at night is a much more traditional creature used in countries such as France, Spain, and Argentina, inspired by a 17th-century story, “Le Bonne Petit Souris” (the good little mouse). The concept of a mouse taking baby teeth from children is linked to the fact that rodents continue to grow strong teeth throughout their lives, and when they take the gift of a tooth, they bless the child with healthy teeth in the future.

However, it is not always a physical being that takes teeth in the night in all cultures. In Egypt, children are taught to toss their teeth into the sky, and in Turkey, they bury teeth somewhere that could influence the bearings of a child's future—for example, burying a tooth near a lawyer's office to pave the way for the child to have a career in law.

Despite the folklore and myth concerning teeth having evolved differently, depending on location, they do obviously share some common ground in helping children overcome their fears of losing their baby teeth and growing up, no matter how different cultures may seem. 

As we have discussed, Geography is hugely influential in how folklore evolves. In Northern Ireland, the Giants Causeways have helped to spawn a famous myth. On the coast lie 40,000 interlocking basalt columns dated back 60 million years. The scientific explanation is that they formed from quickly cooling lava from a volcanic explosion.

However, the myth is that it was created by a giant, Finn McCool, who wanted to challenge his rival Scottish giant, Benandonner.

Once the fight was about to commence, Finn came to the conclusion that Benandonner quickly came to the conclusion that he was far too big to fight, so fled back home on the causeway.

Benandonner was still eager to fight so used the causeway to go find Finn at his home. Finn’s wife had already devised a plan that involved wrapping up Finn in a blanket and pretending to be asleep.

When Benandonner came pounding on the door to fight, Finn’s wife claimed he was not home and that the sleeping figure was their child. Terrified at the size of the child and what size the father would be, Benandonner fled, tearing up the causeway and only leaving the remnants seen today, and returned to Scotland.

Nature also plays a role in shaping folklore. In Hampshire, there is a myriad of fox gloves which it is believed bow when a fairy passes, and the dew they collect can be used to cast spells to communicate with otherworldly beings. But beware, picking a foxglove flower or uprooting it can lead to incredibly bad luck and some very unhappy fairies, so it is recommended to leave them be and let the magic come to you.

Lauren Ewington 

Long Sutton,


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