THE TOOTH FAIRY • by Shivaun Conroy

She hated him. Granny’s favourite. He’d pushed her and hurt her, and she’d said something nasty to him and repeated it several times. Her grandmother had put her hand over her mouth, spoken about soap and water and vile language from the mouth of such a small child. It just wasn’t fair. Granny never saw her point of view. That day Rosa was a six-year-old red-hot ball of fury and humiliation. Marlon, though only one year older, was physically much bigger and stronger. She could only dream of physical retaliation, but got lucky sometimes with her sharp tongue.

Granny and Jock went for their afternoon nap and the two children were confined to the stuffy caravan bedroom. The idea was that they should take a nap too, but that was not realistic. Marlon was ignoring her now and she suddenly wanted company. But she wasn’t sorry. So why should she say she was? So she just lay there feeling lonely and frustrated. Marlon read his book for eight-year-olds and older and every now and then let out a loud guffaw.

Then she remembered the loose tooth on her bottom jaw. She wobbled it a little, then a little more, so that it hurt and she could taste the blood. She quite liked the taste and there was something pleasurable about the pain. She continued to worry it, yanking it back and forward, from side to side, twisting it clockwise, then anticlockwise. Finally the inevitable happened. With an exquisite sense of pain and relief, the tooth detached from the gum and lay in her hand like a bloodied trophy. She didn’t tell her brother. And later at tea-time she didn’t speak about it either. She was still feeling bitter towards Granny and couldn’t tell Jock without old Mrs. Fusspot hearing. Anyway no-one noticed.

But she washed it clean of blood, wrapped it in tissue paper and popped it under her pillow that night before going to bed.

The next morning she woke up and looked under the pillow immediately. But her heart sank. The shape of the scrunched up tissue paper told her that the tooth was still there. No-one cared about her, not even the tooth fairy.

Breakfast was outside in the wooded clearing as usual. Jock fetched chairs and the collapsible table. Granny brought out cheese, salami, boiled eggs and orange juice and that horrible German bread and some normal bread for her and Marlon. But she wasn’t hungry. What was the point of eating? She would starve herself to death. Then they would be sorry.

“Och aye, the wee lass has joined the pirates,” said Jock. “What’s happened to your tooth, princess?”

Without warning the tears started flowing and in stops and starts she explained the situation, while Marlon looked on, surprised and a little superior.

“Och, if I were you, girl, I would give it another go. Probably just a silly old forgetful tooth fairy. Like your old grandfather, eh?”

Later, she couldn’t remember the rest of the day too well except that when it was “Granny’s-shop-is-shut” time, Jock took them on one of those long walks in the woodlands round the caravan where he continued the saga of Peg-Leg-Pete the pirate, and Granny got some work done in peace and quiet.

But the next day — Oh the next delicious day! — she woke up and looked under the pillow. The tissue paper was completely gone. In its place, a blue envelope with a ten p coin in it and a letter.

Dear Rosa,

I am very sorry that I could not get this to you yesterday. I was not aware that you were on holiday and so I first flew to the Wicklow mountains. On the way back from Co. Wicklow to England there was a terrible storm over the Irish sea and I got blown off course. My wings got very wet and I had to take shelter on the Isle of Man. So I am sorry for the delay. Thank you for the tooth. It is a very fine specimen indeed.

Yours Respectfully,

The Tooth Fairy

***

Granny and Jock are dead now and Rosa herself is past the first flush of youth. She no longer believes in fairies, but occasionally, when life gets bleak and no-one can be trusted, least of all herself, the greatest grandfather who ever lived surfaces in her mind and banishes the chill and scatters the darkness.


Shivaun Conroy, no cats, frequently lurks around EDF looking for reading material. On December 30th she’s the writer, which is fun and a bit nerve-wracking if she’s honest. But she’s an adult so can deal with it…


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Rate this story:
 average 4.3 stars • 3 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Kieran Marsh

    Excellent story, Shivaun, captures a moment in the past of the protagonist that clearly has an emotion for her that goes beyond the simple gesture. Wrapping up her emotions in the image of the tooth fairy lends them real strength. I loved the scene where she’s pulling out the tooth, really strong, and also an excellent analogy for her feelings towards her gran and her brother.

  • Kieran Marsh

    Excellent story, Shivaun, captures a moment in the past of the protagonist that clearly has an emotion for her that goes beyond the simple gesture. Wrapping up her emotions in the image of the tooth fairy lends them real strength. I loved the scene where she’s pulling out the tooth, really strong, and also an excellent analogy for her feelings towards her gran and her brother.

  • Toothless

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    A lovely debut, S. Conroy. Captured the child’s heart and voice perfectly. Thought you could have ditched the final paragraph and done a tiny bit of tightening overall. Tooth Fairy’s letter is a five, and for the story itself–four stars.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    A lovely debut, S. Conroy. Captured the child’s heart and voice perfectly. Thought you could have ditched the final paragraph and done a tiny bit of tightening overall. Tooth Fairy’s letter is a five, and for the story itself–four stars.

  • The first paragraph is a little rough. In my opinion there are too many “and” and “so” in the piece as a whole.

    That being said the story itself is maybe a bit anecdotal but works.

    Keep it up. Thanks for the story!

  • The first paragraph is a little rough. In my opinion there are too many “and” and “so” in the piece as a whole.

    That being said the story itself is maybe a bit anecdotal but works.

    Keep it up. Thanks for the story!

  • Diane Cresswell

    Ahhh the magic of childhood. Good perspective of a tooth fairy visit from the other side of the pond. The first paragraph from an editing point of view could be cleaned up a bit with too many sentences running with the ands. That being said – your story carried me away with the visuals. I liked it.

  • Diane Cresswell

    Ahhh the magic of childhood. Good perspective of a tooth fairy visit from the other side of the pond. The first paragraph from an editing point of view could be cleaned up a bit with too many sentences running with the ands. That being said – your story carried me away with the visuals. I liked it.

  • MPmcgurty

    What a sweet story. I thought you captured the feelings and thoughts of a six-year-old better than most writers I’ve seen attempt it. Rosa is feisty and sometimes petulant instead of precocious. Fairy’s letter was adorable.

    There were a couple of things I could nitpick about, but they would be minor and mostly my personal reaction. In general, I suggest tightening it up a bit; specifically, the final paragraph could use some pruning. I understand why it’s important to you, but endings can sometimes overshadow a lovely item like the Fairy letter.

    Very nice debut, S. Congratulations.

  • MPmcgurty

    What a sweet story. I thought you captured the feelings and thoughts of a six-year-old better than most writers I’ve seen attempt it. Rosa is feisty and sometimes petulant instead of precocious. Fairy’s letter was adorable.

    There were a couple of things I could nitpick about, but they would be minor and mostly my personal reaction. In general, I suggest tightening it up a bit; specifically, the final paragraph could use some pruning. I understand why it’s important to you, but endings can sometimes overshadow a lovely item like the Fairy letter.

    Very nice debut, S. Congratulations.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Great voice, well sustained, in a fine wee tale.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Great voice, well sustained, in a fine wee tale.

  • joanna b.

    What a touching story! I really loved this one. The little girl is beautifully drawn, the letter from the Tooth Fairy shows she is loved, and what is left unremarked (a good choice) is that these two kids are orphans. So well-written. What a determined little girl Rosa is, including when she is a
    “red-hot ball of fury and humiliation.” Thanks, S(hivaun) Conroy. 5 stars.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      Or perhaps taken away from unfit parents or left with grandparents by those unfit parents, which would explain much of the rage, self-doubt and not trusting others, and Granny and Jock (step-grandfather?) have been the only reliable adults in these children's lives.
  • joanna b.

    What a touching story! I really loved this one. The little girl is beautifully drawn, the letter from the Tooth Fairy shows she is loved, and what is left unremarked (a good choice) is that these two kids are orphans. So well-written. What a determined little girl Rosa is, including when she is a
    “red-hot ball of fury and humiliation.” Thanks, S(hivaun) Conroy. 5 stars.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      Or perhaps taken away from unfit parents or left with grandparents by those unfit parents, which would explain much of the rage, self-doubt and not trusting others, and Granny and Jock (step-grandfather?) have been the only reliable adults in these children's lives.
  • S Conroy

    Thanks so much for all the positive comments and constructive criticism. A couple of the writers I admire most here liked the story and that made my day. As for the last paragraph, I was in two minds about it, but the editor specifically liked the ending so I went with that particular mind.. (My brother disliked it, my best friend liked it.)
    I’m also very relieved that no-one so far found it too mawkish.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      One of the things I most admired here was the straightforward and unsentimental grace with which Granny AND her man took on not just the bare responsibility for these children, but their nurturing and healing, as much as they could. In a situation like this, another man might have bailed, but Jock made it clear to these kids that he was indeed their grandfather, and that commitment has warmed all of Rosa's life.
      • S Conroy
        i'm really pleased that you picked up here that the granny is actually just doing her best as she knows how. She's based on my own grandmother, an intellectual force, who I appreciated much more as I grew older.
  • S Conroy

    Thanks so much for all the positive comments and constructive criticism. A couple of the writers I admire most here liked the story and that made my day. As for the last paragraph, I was in two minds about it, but the editor specifically liked the ending so I went with that particular mind.. (My brother disliked it, my best friend liked it.)
    I’m also very relieved that no-one so far found it too mawkish.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      One of the things I most admired here was the straightforward and unsentimental grace with which Granny AND her man took on not just the bare responsibility for these children, but their nurturing and healing, as much as they could. In a situation like this, another man might have bailed, but Jock made it clear to these kids that he was indeed their grandfather, and that commitment has warmed all of Rosa's life.
      • S Conroy
        I'm really pleased that you picked up here that the granny is actually just doing her best as she knows how. She's based on my own grandmother, an intellectual force, who I appreciated much more as I grew older.
  • Hi Shivaun – I am late with my comments on your story, I’ve been on a 3-day writing/editing binge.

    This is an endearing tale and I liked the voice throughout. For easier reading I would have prefered shorter paragraphs, maybe that’s just my age showing.

    Re the last para, I think it would have been more effective if the recollections involved the grown child included the note, perhaps as a vehicle of her memories. As it sits now, it seems tied up too tidy, too obvious, maybe too rushed? Don’t know if that makes sense or not.

    • S Conroy
      Thanks a lot Jeff. You might be on to something there. As I say, I wasn't quite sure about that ending.
  • Hi Shivaun – I am late with my comments on your story, I’ve been on a 3-day writing/editing binge.

    This is an endearing tale and I liked the voice throughout. For easier reading I would have prefered shorter paragraphs, maybe that’s just my age showing.

    Re the last para, I think it would have been more effective if the recollections involved the grown child included the note, perhaps as a vehicle of her memories. As it sits now, it seems tied up too tidy, too obvious, maybe too rushed? Don’t know if that makes sense or not.

    • S Conroy
      Thanks a lot, Jeff. You might be on to something there. As I say, I wasn't quite sure about that ending. * Had another look and think I get what you mean. It would actually be an improvement to put some version of the last paragraph before the letter.
  • Tony

    Hi Shivaun, cute little story, I remember the wiggling of the tooth as a six year- oldish regards Tony critch

    • S Conroy
      Thanks for checking my story out Tony.
  • Tony

    Hi Shivaun, cute little story, I remember the wiggling of the tooth as a six year- oldish regards Tony critch

    • S Conroy
      Thanks for checking my story out Tony.
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