children's books

The Tooth Fairy's Cousin
by Hilary Williamson


Lizzie's left front tooth hung by a thread. Her cousin Mark showed her how to move it in and out by blowing on it. This turned her mom green so she did it all the time. That spring, her right front tooth fell out at the amusement park. Lizzie found it on the ground in a wad of pink chewing gum. The tooth fairy left a dollar under her pillow that night - she took the tooth and the gum.

Lizzie was saving for a snorkeling set just like her cousin's. She kept prodding the tooth. They were in the neighborhood pool across from Lizzie's house, playing with noodles - long foam tubes you could ride like sea horses. Lizzie had a purple one and Mark's was orange. It was while they were racing across the pool that Lizzie's tongue found the hole where her front teeth used to be.

It was in the water! Lizzie let out a yell and the lifeguard dove to the rescue. He was not very happy when he found out he was rescuing a tooth. Everyone searched the pool but it was hopeless. They ended up cross, tired and toothless. Lizzie was sad so Mark suggested she write a note to the tooth fairy to see if she could help. So she did.

Dear Tooth Fery,

My tooth is in the pool.
Plese get it out and leve my mony like last time.

Thanx,
Lizzie

She felt much better and spent a happy afternoon swimming with her friends. At bed time she folded the note and put it carefully under her pillow.

Lizzie dreamed. She was in her pajamas by the pool with the tooth fairy - not the sort of fairy you see in the movies! For one thing she was only one foot tall. She wore grubby shorts with dirty white sneakers and a sloppy orange sweater. Her hair was purple and stuck out in all directions. She chewed pink gum. Her leg was in a cast. But she did have fairy wings.

"You don't look like a Tooth Fairy" said Lizzie.

"Give me a break" said the fairy. "Know how many kids lose teeth every day? And how few of us fairies want this job? Most of my friends make movies! How long do you think I'd last in a fancy dress? Look at this cast. Last time I was here, I tripped over a toy and broke my leg.  Tidy your room, kid!"  She blew a huge pink bubble.

"Sorry" said Lizzie "Hey I like the way you dress. It's so cool. Did you find my tooth yet?"

"Kid, I don't do pools. The chlorine curls my wings, not to mention my hair. And they don't teach diving in Tooth Fairy School."

"What about my tooth" wailed Lizzie, "and my dollar, and my snorkel and ..."

"Sshhh - you'll wake everyone ... here's the deal. My cousin's a water sprite. Her stream's in the middle of a construction site. Let her live in your pool. She finds your tooth; I give you a dollar; you buy your snorkel. Good for all of us."

"Sounds sweet to me" said Lizzie, "... the kids will agree, but I don't know about our moms and dads. What if they see her?"

"No problemo" said the fairy, "she got A's in Vanishing 101. They won't know she's there. Just sign here."  She passed a rolled up contract. Lizzie read it carefully before she printed her name at the bottom:
      Contract
      Sprite finds tooth.
      Sprite lives in pool.

The Tooth Fairy took the contract and disappeared in a splash of fireworks (with lots of orange and purple). In the distance Lizzie heard "Thanks for the gum and don't forget to clean up your room, kid ..."

Lizzie looked under her pillow as soon as she woke up. She yelled with excitement. The money was there. Her mother rushed in to see what the noise was about, and slipped in a huge puddle of water. A trail of drops led to a smaller puddle under the window.

"What's going on? Where did this water come from?" she asked, picking herself up and wringing out her skirt.

"Oh, it was just the Tooth Fairy's ... uh, just the Tooth Fairy. I guess she was in the pool getting my tooth. She must have dripped. See, she left my dollar!" and Lizzie waved it in the air.

"Well, I hope she enjoyed her swim" said Lizzie's mom with that look on her face like she didn't really believe it but wasn't going to say so. "Now how about drying this up and coming down for breakfast."

"You know, I think she did enjoy it. She probably made herself right at home" replied Lizzie and quickly dried up the puddle. She even tidied a few toys away at the same time.

There was an extra sparkle to the swimming pool after that. Lizzie and Mark often saw a little green face out of the corners of their eyes. The sprite played tricks too. She pushed the children off their noodles. She tickled toes and made whirlpools that spun them around and around till they were dizzy. All the neighborhood kids wanted to play with her - she was awesome.

The pool needed very little chlorine that summer and always had a special glow to it. Birds twittered all around, and sometimes leaves and seeds swirled through the water in the oddest patterns. The moms and dads wondered, but they never saw a thing.

The End

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