MADRID – In the UK, when a child loses a tooth, it is traditional to put the tooth under the pillow. And while the child is sleeping, a tooth fairy collects it and leaves some coins in its place. However, in Spain, the tradition is slightly different.
In 1877 Spain, a mouse named Ratón Pérez formed part of a collection of Spanish folktales by Fernán Caballero. In 1894, this character was inspired by the King´s priest, Luis Coloma, who would make him part of the Spanish traditional folklore by turning him into a sort of Tooth Fairy.
Cookie box home
Coloma created the fable for the young King Alfonso XIII. The tale is about a small mouse who lives in a biscuit tin with his family and leaves money in exchange for taking the tooth. Although he had a special relationship with King Alfonso, Ratón Pérez did not distinguish between the rich and poor. He visited the palace as well as those in the poor neighbourhoods. He would escape from his cookie box home and run through the pipes of the city and into the bedrooms of those children who had lost a tooth.
Today, there is a museum in Madrid dedicated to the tooth fairy. It is called Casa Museo de Ratón Pérez. A visit will tell you all you need to know about this special tradition. Not only can you tour the house, but you can also view the baby teeth of Beethoven, Beatrix Potter, and Isaac Newton.