The Tooth Tale: a true story

-- By Jolanta Lapiak, originally in 1994, retold 2009.


One morning a ten-year-old brother was excited to show his latest extracted tooth to her sister who had just returned home from university. He unfolded his hand, "Hey, look what I have here."

His sister nodded, smiling "neat."

He continued, "I'm gonna put it under the pillow tonight. How much money do you think mom will put under the pillow?"

The sister looked at his little brother with amusement and hesitation for a moment, "Uhm, well, you see in my early life, I have never had any money under the pillow and there was no tooth fairy in our culture. Instead, we always put extracted teeth into either house plant soil or ground outside. In this way, it would bring your teeth a healthy growth." Not necessarily believing in this such thing herself, she merely showed him another option between a materialistic culture and a spiritual view.

The brother, who had uneven, slightly decayed teeth in real life, thought for a moment. He was aware that his sister had perfectly even, healthy teeth. He darted straight to the nearest houseplant and inserted his tooth into the soil. He came back with a big smile from ear to ear.


"These two contrast cultural choices reflect a different attitude and value of materialism."

Original storytelling in 2009

These are the original video clips of storytelling from 1994.

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These are some ASL lessons, tutorials, and tips that ASL students and language enthusiasts can explore and learn some ASL on their own relaxing pace.

Seeking some challenges? Try some stories, fables, and others in ASL storytelling and poetry. Study a complex system of subtle eye gazes, role-shifting, classifiers, sentence structures, and other linguistic features as well as poetics.