Henna, the baby hippo wasn’t very happy. In fact, it had been two days since she had smiled at all! It all began a couple of days back when she was brushing her teeth as usual in the morning and she felt a strange feeling in her mouth. She continued brushing. Brush, brush, brush…There, she felt it again. She looked in the pond at her reflection and touched the spot where she had felt it. And goodness! Oh, goodness! Her teeth was wiggling. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle… it went.
She ran to her mom and in a trembling voice said, “Mama, my tooth is falling out. I brush it every day and still, why?” Mama smiled at her and said, “Oh, my little one has become a big girl now! It is only your milk tooth, Henna. Milk teeth will fall out one by one and new strong ones will come in their place, my dear”. Henna was horrified. What? Her teeth will fall out one by one!? What a sight she will look then. She didn’t want to lose her white pearly teeth. Oh, no!! And that is why she stopped smiling, lest her teeth fall out.
Mommy Hippo kept asking her again and again to wiggle it lose or the new one would come out crooked. But she refused to listen. Mommy hippo was only worried she might accidentally swallow it, but Henna didn’t let her come anywhere close. Tired of all the fuss Henna was making, she told Henna sternly that she would give her one more day to take the tooth out herself and after that she would have to take her to Dr Gerry Giraffe to pull it out.
Henna went to bed a very scared hippo. She had a very restless night, twisting and turning. Suddenly, in the middle of the night she sat up straight. She thought she heard a strange sound coming from her mouth. Boo... hoo… hoo…!!! It went. Hippo ran to look in the tiny piece of mirror she kept in her little treasure hole in the corner of the cave. She had quite a few collection of things there. One lost shoe, a piece of chalk and a key were just among some of the things she found near the river bank on days she managed to slip away unnoticed from her mother. Now she opened her mouth wide and what do you think she saw there?!! Her wiggly tooth was crying! Yes, it had eyes and a mouth and as soon as it saw Henna looking at it, it started wailing even louder. BOOO…..HOOO….HOOO….!!! Henna was so shocked she nearly forgot to breathe for a few seconds.
Then she gathered her wits and gently asked, “Can you tell me why you are crying?” The tooth stopped crying and said, “Didn’t you know, that if you don’t pull out your teeth in time and put it under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find it, it will be lost forever?” “Lost forever?” asked the confused Henna. “Yes,” said the Tooth. “When the Tooth Fairy finds the milk tooth, she takes it to a faraway land called Milky Land. All the milk teeth collected from children around the world are brought here where we have the Milky River. All the teeth jump into it, splash around and have fun till they are spotless and white again! A few days later they are taken back to the children and planted in the same spot in the mouth as a new tooth.”
Wow! I didn’t know that”, said Henna, feeling very excited now. “So what is the problem then?” she asked. “Well, you see when the child doesn’t pull out a tooth in time, the Tooth Fairy plants another tooth beside it. The new tooth grows and pushes the milk tooth giving the mouth a rather crooked smile and very soon the child is taken to a doctor to get the milk tooth removed. And when that happens the tooth is lost forever and it can never go to Milky Land!” said the tooth and began crying all over again louder and louder!! “Alright, alright, I understand”, said Happy. “But are you sure?”. “Of course I am sure. If you don’t believe me see for yourself. There is the new tooth right beside me.” Said the tooth indignantly. Henna looked inside her mouth closely and sure enough there was a new tooth right next to it. It was just a white little spot.
“Hmm…. Alright then. I will pull you out. But you better come out fast because I am scared.” The tooth nodded happily. Henna closed her eyes and nervously tugged at it. And out it came! It was so easy and it hardly hurt her at all. She felt very proud of herself for doing it all by herself. “But what will happen to you?” she asked. “Are you lost forever now?” “No, no I can stay in Milky Land forever thanks to you,” said the Milk Tooth as Henna placed her gently under the pillow. And Henna went to sleep yawning, for she was very tired after this little night adventure.
Wasn’t it brave of Henna to help out the tooth even though she was scared? I am sure the Tooth Fairy will be leaving a nice amount of money for her under the pillow for being such a brave little girl. Did you pull out your first tooth on your own too?