When I see things like these wooden wolf teeth in a Native American exhibit at a local museum, my immediate question is “Why?” What kind of legend makes wolf teeth so valuable that people would take the time to carve replicas out of wood and the coat them with precious copper?
Luckily, the internet is a mere click away. Pow Wows or the Long Lost Friend by Hohman suggests that Native Americans carried wolf teeth for various reasons. The teeth were believed to protect the bearer from unkind words and to create a wolf-like loyalty within a family. And if someone dared to steal from you, all you had to do was tuck your wolf tooth under your pillow at night and you’d dream out the thief’s identity.
It’s easy to see how actual wolf’s teeth would give way to wooden wolf’s teeth as the native canines were hunted to extinction in the eastern U.S. I guess the real question from an author’s point of view is — if I embed a picture of a wolf’s tooth into each of my books, will the titles in question no longer receive one-star reviews?