The Little Mouse
The Little Mouse, or La Petite Souris, is a fairy tale legend popular in most Francophone countries, most notably in France, and Wallonia. The legend of the Little Mouse ties in with that of the Tooth Fairy, the difference being that in this case, a little mouse sneaks in while the child is asleep, and replaces the lost baby tooth kept under his/her pillow with coins.
Similar legends exist in Hispanic culture, such as Ratoncito Pérez, as well as most South-Asian cultures from India to Japan. It was said in lore and mythology, that if the lost baby tooth of a child was found by an animal, the adult teeth that would follow would bear resemblance to the teeth of that animal. Hence, a mouse was often the animal of choice, because rodent teeth are sharp, and keep growing.
The most feasible origin of this legend, at least in the francophone context, dates back to 17th Century France, to a story penned by Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, baronne d’Aulnoy named The Little Good Mouse (( or 'La bonne petite souris'. Her story spoke of a fairy who transformed herself into a mouse to be able to defeat an evil king. The fairy, in her mouse form, hid herself under the pillow of the king and caused all his teeth to fall out.
In popular culture
Many interpretations of the Little Mouse or La Petite Souris have appeared in French popular culture. The mouse is often used to make children less frightened, particularly regarding concerns they may have about losing their baby teeth.In French-language media, the little mouse has also starred as the central character of quite a good number of children's books. To name a few as examples :
- Petite Souris album by Céline Lamour-Crochet (Author), François Martin (Illustrations)
- La petite souris et la dent by Virginie Hanna (Author), Delphine Bodet (Illustrations)
- A series of 7 books on La petite souris by Francois-Xavier Poulain (Author), Olivier Bailly (Illustrations)
-  Dents de lait : la veritable histoire de la petite souris
-  Pourquoi quand on perd une dent arrive la petite souris
-  What's the origin of the tooth fairy ?
-  Petite souris - Cécile Lamour-Crochet Martin
-  La petite souris et la dent - Virginie Hanna Bodet
-  Series - La petite souris des dents de lait - Francois-Xavier Poulain
-  Le site de la Petite Souris
- "Dents de lait : la véritable histoire de la petite souris". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "Pourquoi quand on perd une dent arrive la petite souris". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "What's the origin of the tooth fairy ?". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Martin, Cécile Lamour-Crochet, François (2011). Petite souris. [Clermont-Ferrand]: Tournez la page jeunesse. p. 16. ISBN 978-2364730038.
- Bodet, Virginie Hanna; illustrations Delphine (2010). La petite souris et la dent. Paris: Auzou. p. 32. ISBN 978-2733813683.
- Poulain, Francois-Xavier (2014). Les secrets de la Petite Souris des dents de lait (in French). Mouvaux: Editions Rosebois. p. 24. ISBN 978-2954739960.
- "Le site de la petite souris". Retrieved 15 September 2016.