The Tooth Fairy and the Ivory Tower
By L. V. Gaudet
© September 17, 2010
Once upon a time there was a little princess who lived in a beautiful castle in a beautiful land. The princess had a wonderful life because she had everything she had ever wanted.
Whatever Princess Angelica wanted, Princess Angelica got. Yes, everything!
In fact every year her father, the king, had to have a new, bigger, castle built. And every year the servants packed up all of the princess’s stuff and moved it to the new castle.
And every year, by moving day, the castle was so crowded that no one could move. So, once again the servants would start packing all of the princess’s stuff and move it to the new, bigger, castle.
One by one, the people in the castle would be freed as the servants took the stuff away. And it’s a good thing too, because they were all getting pretty hungry.
Finally, the servants made it to the princess.
But the princess was sad. She just sat there on her Princess and the Pea bed, with her favourite snuggly stuffed dog with diamond eyes and ribbons made of golden fairy hair, and she just sat. She sat and she sat, and she didn’t move or talk. She looked very sad.
The servants ran from the room crying.
“The princess! Something’s wrong with the princess!”
And everyone in the castle came running.
All the servants, even the cook who was usually busy cooking, came running.
The knights came running, their armour clanging and clanking, making a huge racket.
The lords and ladies pranced and danced, and capered up to the princess’s room. The boy in the stable who cleaned up after the horses came running, followed by flies.
Even the dog who caught the mice came running to see what was wrong with the princess.
“The princess! Something’s wrong with the princess!” they all cried.
At last, the princess’s parents, the king and queen, came running into her room.
“The princess, the princess,” the queen cried, “What is wrong with the princess?”
“The princess, the princess,” the king cried, “what is wrong with the princess?”
The little princess just sat there quiet and sad, hugging her snuggly dog.
The king sat beside the little princess and put a gentle arm around her, great worry creasing his brow.
“What is the matter my little princess?” he asked. “Do you not have everything you have ever wanted?”
“Yes,” the little princess said quietly.
“Well, do you not live in the most beautiful castle in the most beautiful land?” the king asked.
“Yes,” the little princess said quietly.
“Then why are you so sad, little princess?” the king asked. He was becoming even more worried. “Are you sick?”
“No,” the little princess said quietly. “I was just reading.”
“Reading?” the king said, shocked.
“Ban the books!” the king declared. “The books have made the princess sick, take them all away! All books in the kingdom are to be taken and burned!”
“No, Daddy,” the little princess said quietly.
“No?” the king asked.
“No,” the little princess said. “It’s just the picture, look.” And she showed her father, the king, the picture of a little princess just like her trapped way up at the top of a beautiful white tower.
“Ok,” the king said. “So, why are you so sad then?”
“The princess in the picture,” the little princess said quietly. “She’s in a beautiful white tower. It looks like it’s made of ivory, and …”
But she didn’t get to finish because the king interrupted.
“A tower!” the king roared.
“But – but – the b-books,” a small servant said as he collected up arm loads of books.
“Forget the books!” the king said. “It’s not the books, it’s the tower!”
“The little princess wants an ivory tower, and by the jewels of my crown she will have an ivory tower!”
“But,” the little princess said quietly. But nobody heard her.
All the servants ran around crying.
“A tower, a tower, Princess Angelica needs an ivory tower!”
“Um, Sire,” the little servant said, his arms still full of books.”
The king leaned over and looked down at the little servant.
The little servant swallowed his fear.
“Ivory is very expensive, Sire,” the little servant said.
The king swung his arm in a circle to include everything in his kingdom.
“I will give everything in my kingdom if I must,” the king said. “The princess will have her ivory tower!”
All the servants, even the cook, ran from the little princess’s room.
The knights in their armour clanged and clanked out of the room.
The lords and ladies danced and curtseyed out of the room.
Even the dog who catches the mice ran from the room.
They had a beautiful ivory tower to build!
The little princess was left sitting alone on her princess and the pea bed, hugging her favourite snuggly stuffed dog with diamond eyes and ribbons made of golden fairy hair.
“But…” the little princess said. And that was all she said. She just sat. She sat and she sat, and she didn’t move or talk. She looked very sad.
Soon, big wagons full of ivory began to arrive at the castle.
The little princess sat sadly and watched the servants unload the ivory.
“They look like curved poles,” she said to her favourite snuggly dog.
“I wonder where ivory comes from,” the little princess said.
“Oh, so you wonder where ivory comes from,” said a little voice beside her.
Princess Angelica looked around but no one was there.
(Sigh) “So now I’m hearing voices talk back when I talk to myself,” the little princess said.
“You are a wicked little girl,” the little voice said angrily.
“What? Me?” the little princess said. She still couldn’t find anyone around.
“You are wicked and terrible,” the little voice said. “You-you are just spoiled! Rotten like a bad apple.”
The little princess felt hurt by these words.
She looked around to see who was saying such mean things.
Finally, she saw the tiny person.
And tiny this person was! She was as tall as the length of the little princess’s finger. She had tiny gossamer wings and a tiny dress made of ivory daisy petals.
“What are you?” the little princess asked, amazed.
“I’m not a what!” the little person said angrily. “Who! I’m a who! Fairies are people too you know!”
“A fairy?” the little princess couldn’t believe it. “I never had a fairy.”
“You can’t have me!” the little fairy yelled. “I’m a person, and you can’t own a person.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” the little princess said.
“Are you really a fairy?” the little princess asked.
“Yes,” the fairy pouted.
“What kind of fairy are you?” the little princess asked.
“I’m a tooth fairy,” the little fairy said proudly. “My job is to look after all the lost teeth. They get pretty sad and lonely, you know, after you lose them.”
“Wow! A tooth fairy,” the little princess said.
“Can you grant wishes?” the little princess asked.
“Hmph! You don’t have wishes, you already have everything you ever wanted,” the little fairy said.
“But…” the little princess said sadly.
“What could you possibly wish for?” the little fairy asked.
The little princess thought and thought. She thought hard. This was such a little fairy, that surely she must have only enough magic in her for one wish. She had to make it a good one.
She thought about the princess in her book that was trapped in her beautiful ivory tower. She looked at the ivory being brought in from far away to build her own ivory tower.
“I would like to know where ivory comes from,” the little princess said.
“Hmmm,” the little fairy thought.
And with a wink and a nod, and a clap of her hands – and a little fairy dust too – the little princess and the fairy were suddenly in a very strange land.
Everything looked yellow and brown, and the grass was very tall and dead looking. There were very few trees and very little green.
“Where are we?” the little princess asked.
“Africa!” the little fairy said proudly.
“Africa! Why?” the little princess asked.
“This is where ivory comes from,” the fairy said.
Just then, great lumbering beasts walked into sight. They were huge! They had great flat ears that flapped in the hot air, long snaky noses, and grey wrinkly skin. The most amazing thing was that they had great big ivory tusks sticking out from beside the corners of their mouths.
“What are those?” the little princess asked in excitement.
“Those are elephants,” the little fairy said. “That’s where ivory comes from.”
“From the elephants?” the little princess asked. She couldn’t believe it. “Are those horns?”
“No,” the little fairy said. “They’re kind of like teeth.”
“Teeth,” the little princess said.
“That’s why I was at your castle,” the little fairy said. She looked very sad now. “All those poor lost teeth.” She shook her head sadly.
The little princess stared at the elephants.
“Do they just give us their teeth?” she asked.
“Give them?” The little fairy laughed. “Would you just give me your teeth?”
The little princess shook her head, “no.”
“The men come and they take the teeth,” the fairy said.
“Does it hurt?” the little princess asked.
“Of course it does,” the little fairy said. “They have to kill the elephants to take their teeth.”
The little princess was shocked. This was terrible!
“Those poor elephants! We have to help them,” the little princess cried.
Just then the elephants started crying and yelling.
A little baby elephant who looked so tiny and cute next to its huge mother squeaked and cried.
The whole herd started to run for their lives.
Men came. They chased the elephants.
“No, don’t hurt them,” the little princess cried.
“Hurry,” the little fairy said. “The only way to stop them is to stop building the tower.”
With one last sad look at the fleeing elephants, and with a wink and a nod, and a clap of her hands – and a little fairy dust too – the little princess and the fairy were suddenly back at the castle.
“Hurry, we must find my father and tell him to stop building the tower!” the little princess cried.
The little princess and the fairy rushed all over the castle, but they couldn’t find the king or the queen.
“The king has gone to the town plaza,” a servant said.
The princess and the fairy rushed to the town plaza, but the king wasn’t there.
At the town plaza the little princess overheard two old women talking about her.
“That princess, she just has to have everything she wants,” one woman complained.
“She wanted my little dog who catches mice, and now my house is full of mice!” the other woman complained.
“She’s just a terrible princess,” the first woman said.
“Why do you look so sad?” a little boy asked the princess.
“Do you know where my mother is?” the little princess asked.
“I saw her going into the bakery,” the little boy said.
The little princess and the fairy rushed off to the bakery, but the queen wasn’t there.
At the bakery, the princess overheard the baker talking to an old man about her.
“That princess is so selfish,” the old man said.
“She wanted large pans to plant her flowers in and the king gave her mine,” the baker said sadly. “Now I can’t make my beautiful big cakes!”
“Oh, those were the finest cakes,” the old man said.
“Why do you look so sad?” a little girl asked the princess.
“Do you know where my father is?” the little princess asked.
“I saw him by the mill,” the little girl said.
The little princess and the fairy rushed off to the mill, but the king Wasn’t there.
At the mill, the princess overheard the miller talking to his wife.
“That princess is horrible,” the miller’s wife said.
“She liked my ox and the king just gave it to her,” the miller said. “Now I can’t turn the mill to make flour. How can people bake bread without flour?”
The little princess ran from the mill crying.
“Why are you crying?” the little fairy asked.
“Everybody hates me!” the little princess sobbed.
“Of course they do,” the little fairy said. “You get everything you want – EVERYTHING! All that stuff has to come from somewhere. If you have it, then somebody else doesn’t.”
“I never thought of it that way,” the little princess said sadly.
Then the little princess remembered – THE ELEPHANTS!
“Hurry, we have to stop the tower to save the elephants!” The little princess cried.
They rushed to where the beautiful ivory tower was being built for the princess.
“The queen fairy is very cross with you, you know,” the fairy said on the way.
“Queen fairy? Why is she mad at me?”
“Your wishes,” the fairy said. “You have everything you ever wanted given to you. You have no need of wishes. Fairy’s must answer wishes or they die!”
“You mean I’m hurting the fairy’s too?” the little princess asked.
“Three fairies have died already,” the fairy said sadly.
“Just because I don’t need to wish for anything?” the little princess asked.
“Yes,” the fairy said. “And now your ivory tower is taking all the elephants’ ivory. You are killing all the elephants.”
“But I didn’t know!” the little princess cried.
They arrived at the ivory tower and the princess ran to block the servants building it.
“Stop! Stop!” the little princess cried.
The servants all ignored her and just walked around her, building the tower.
“Oh please stop,” the little princess begged.
“What’s this?” the king roared. “Why is my little princess so sad?”
“The tower …” the princess started to say. But the king cut her off.
“Yes the tower, it’s magnificent! Magnorious and glorious!” the king said proudly.
“But, the elephants…” the little princess said sadly.
“Elephants? If my little princess wants elephants then she shall have elephants,” the king declared. “Bring elephants!”
Then with a flash of glimmering light a splendidly beautiful woman stood before them. Her golden hair flowed with her flowing gowns. She had delicate wings of gossamer.
“The fairy queen!” the little fairy gasped.
The little princess just stared.
“Enough of this selfishness,” the fairy queen said angrily. “Your greedy wants have hurt everyone around you and it must stop!”
The king just stared. He had never seen a fairy. He didn’t even believe they were real.
The fairy queen looked around angrily. When she saw the little princess she stared at her, pointing at her.
“For your crimes I sentence you thus,” the fairy queen commanded. “Your wish that brought about this,” – she gestured to the partially built ivory tower – “shall be granted, but it will be your prison. You will be forever trapped within that which you wished for. You own it, it’s now yours to cherish forever.”
“No!” the king and queen cried together.
The fairy queen turned to the king and the queen.
“You, who have blindly given your daughter everything she wanted, have left her with nothing more to want. Without want, there is nothing to dream of. I sentence you to finish what you started. You shall never rest or age until the ivory tower is completed.”
The king laughed.
“With all this ivory, the tower will be finished quickly,” the king said.
“No!” the little princess cried. “The elephants!”
And with a wink and a nod, and a clap of her hands – and a little fairy dust too – the queen fairy turned all the great elephant tusks into tiny little baby’s teeth.
“No longer will you take your ivory, but it will have to be given to you willingly,” the queen fairy said.
“But, baby teeth?” the king begged.
“Baby teeth,” the queen fairy said.
The queen fainted.
The king cried.
“The tower will never be finished,” the king cried.
“I know,” the queen fairy said.
And with a wink and a nod, and a clap of her hands – and a little fairy dust too – the queen fairy was gone.
“I have to help my parents,” the little princess sobbed.
The little tooth fairy felt sad for the little princess.
“I will help you,” the little fairy said.
“How?” the little princess asked. The little fairy was much too little to help.
“I’m a tooth fairy,” the little fairy said. “I’ll help you get the teeth.”
“But we can’t take the teeth. They have to give them to us,” the little princess said.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t mind giving us their lost teeth. They are lost, after all,” the little fairy said.
“I can’t leave the tower,” the little princess said sadly. “The queen fairy cursed me.”
The little princess was very sad.
And so the little fairy set out to ask people for their lost teeth to give to the little princess. But no one wanted to give the little princess anything because she already had everything.
Then the little princess had an idea. She would give gifts to anyone who would willingly give her their lost teeth.
It was very hard work finding lost teeth. But when the little fairy did find one, she would return it to its rightful owner and ask to give it to the princess. If the person said yes, then the little fairy gave a present from the little princess. It might be a book or a pot, a toy or a coin. But the princess made good on her promise to always give a gift.
Soon, teeth were no longer lost. Instead, children would place them under their pillows for the tooth fairy to find them.
But the tower could never be completed, and so the king and queen continued to build the castle, one itty bitty little baby tooth at a time, forever. The princess sat in her beautiful but unfinished ivory tower, always waiting for the tooth fairy to bring her another tooth. And the tooth fairy finally found a home for the lost teeth and went out every night while children slept to collect their lost teeth to build the beautiful ivory tower.
And they lived this way for ever after.
One day the little tooth fairy asked the princess a very important question.
“Why did you want an ivory tower?” the little fairy asked.
“I didn’t,” the little princess said.
“But the picture of the tower,” the little fairy said.
So the little princess showed her friend the picture of the princess trapped at the top of a beautiful tower that looked like it was made of ivory.
She pointed at the princess in the picture.
“The princess?” the little fairy asked.
“She’s lonely like me,” the little princess said.
“You didn’t wish for the tower at all?” the little fairy said.
“No,” the little princess said. “I just wanted a friend.”
The little fairy screamed with happiness.
"What?” asked the little princess.
“You aren’t trapped in the tower,” the little fairy said.
“But the curse,” the little princess said.
“Said that you would have to live forever with what you wished for,” the little fairy said. “She made you my friend forever!”
And so they were friends forever, and the little princess wasn’t a prisoner of the beautiful ivory tower after all. But the foolish king and queen still had to keep building it, one itty bitty tiny little baby tooth at a time.
The little princess still had so much stuff that she, and the little tooth fairy, continued trading presents for teeth to help her parents finish the ivory tower.