A French Lesson on the Little Mouse

mouse2You have probably already heard that flying bells bring chocolate to small children at Easter. Here’s another French myth that may surprise you. There is no tooth fairy in France. Instead, it is a small mouse (la petite souris) that sneaks into children’s bedrooms when they lose their baby teeth. Eck!

A small mouse is believed to quietly enter your house while you sleep, rolling a coin (or perhaps carries a bill for extra lucky children) as she goes. Eventually she will reach your bed, get herself under your pillow, and leave the money in exchange for your tooth. While Spanish speakers may not find this story much different from their own little mouse, Ratoncito Pérez, for Anglophones it can be a little hard to believe. Go ahead and ask your French friends… Where you scared to have a mouse get into your bed? Did you worry about your cat eating la petite souris? Did you remove your mousetraps the night you lost a tooth? But don’t be surprised when they laugh and shrug.

MouseNo one knows exactly where the myth of la petite souris originated, but it is believed that she may come from a 17th century French fairy tale by Baroness d’Aulnoy. The story is called, The Good Little Mouse (La Bonne Petite Souris) and is about a fairy who turns into a mouse to helps a queen defeat an evil king. The fairy mouse hides under the kings pillow and takes all his teeth while he sleeps.

Cick here to read the entire story in French.

We often provide cultural coaching along with language lessons to our students. Together we can discuss and explain the little differences between Anglophone and French culture and make everyday life a little easier.

Interested in learning more about French culture and traditions while improving your language skills? Call or contact us here to organize private French lessons in Paris.

Illustration by Delphine Doreau and drawing from the “La bonne petite souris.”

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