This is a casting of Alice in Wonderland mixed up in some concentric steampunk brass gears.
This version of Alice has had a patina applied to better distinguish the figure from the gears. I have mounted Alice on an octagonal marble base.
The bronze casting weighs 700 grams on the marble base. She is approximately 11 cm wide and stands 15 cm tall.
This figure is cast from a silicon bronze that contains 95% Cu, 4% Si, 1% Mn. The embedded gears and base are cast from a yellow brass that includes 63% copper, 1% lead, and various amounts of zinc and tin.
So, you would like to know the story of this bronze piece? Come, pull up a chair and let’s sit beside the fire and get comfortable. I’ll see what I can do to find a mug of warm cider for us, what with the snow falling outside. Sadly, I don’t often get asked to tell stories any more. But, there was this one time that the tooth troll came to visit when I was a child and stole my rotten teeth, but we can perhaps leave that story for another day.
No? You want the story now? Well, you do know that the tooth fairy is a myth, don’t you? The tooth fairy is a fiction of the tooth troll who sits upon a mountain of horrible rotten teeth taken from all the children in the world who were naughty. He guards them fiercely and is a terrible menace to anyone who might think to get their teeth back. You see, he melts down some of these old rotten teeth in a huge furnace and turns them into gold and silver and bronze.
It turn out that rotten mistreated teeth actually have value. You wouldn’t expect this, but it is true. The ones that are not too badly decayed can be turned into gold, the marginally decayed become silver, and the really bad teeth become next to worthless bronze.
Now there once was this young girl who happened to catch the tooth troll stealing her teeth one night. Being terribly angry about this she followed him back to his secret mountain in Wonderland. It was a torturous trip, what with the tooth troll being somewhat fat and magical. The girl’s name was Alice and she was most upset because, you see, she didn’t think she was naughty. She didn’t think that the tooth troll should be stealing her rotten teeth. She thought she was absolutely truthful and never told lies.
The tooth troll, however, rarely made mistakes. Now he was fat and mostly inattentive to details, but he had this special list of those who were naughty and not naughty. His minions spent their time scouring the land and secretly discovered all the naughty things that children did. They were quite careful in recording the really naughty children in the list. And sadly, Alice’s name had ended up on the list. She had taken a cookie once from the cookie jar and lied about it to her parents.
So, the tooth troll had visited Alice. Unfortunately, Alice had woken and seen the tooth troll, and because she was angry she fervently hung on to the tooth troll’s great waistcoat as he flew away. You see, he had taken Alice’s rotten tooth that she had carefully hidden beneath her pillow. It was very brave of Alice to hang on to the tooth troll because he was very fearsome. But for some reason, most likely due to the fact that the tooth troll was inattentive, he failed to realize that Alice was attached to his coat. The troll raced off to his mountain extremely excited to add another very rotten perfect tooth to his vast collection of other similar teeth.
Alice was buffeted and tossed as she hung on, and near the end of the journey the turbulence was so great that she had to let go of the troll’s waistcoat shortly before he reached his mountain. Alice fell, tumbling through the sky, but fortunately landed in a great haystack that was soft and marshmallowly. She didn’t quite know what marshmallowy meant, but it seemed appropriate particularly as she pushed her way out of the haystack to stand up.
Alice could see the tooth troll vanishing in the distance as he sped away to his mountain. She wondered just how she was going to follow, when just then she spied a curious tin man coming down the road nearby. He was quite odd in that he squeaked and groaned, but somehow he still managed to put one foot in front of the other. Alice approached this tin man saying “Wait, wait,” and he turned to look at her.
“What can I do for you, young lady,” he said. Alice explained her predicament and how she wanted to retrieve her tooth. The tin man listened and after a moment, after he had squeaked and groaned in a most terrible way, he coughed and cleared his throat and said, “You’re going to get yourself in trouble. There is no way to undo your naughtyness. But, if you must go to the tooth troll’s mountain, then the only way to do this is with gear travel.”
“Gear travel? What’s that?” asked Alice. The tin man simply pointed to a large brass gear that was rapidly travelling up the road towards them. Alice watched in awe as the gear stopped before them, on edge, strangely not falling over. It was a large gear, big enough for her to fit inside of it, and it seemed to have a seat in the middle.
“What am I to do?” Alice asked, and then I noticed that you had finished your cider. It’s important that you be comfortable during this story. More cider is called for, particularly as the snow continues to fall.
It turns out that after I had replenished your new warm cider, Alice had set herself inside the gear and was holding on tightly as the gear rolled down the road towards the tooth troll’s mountain. It was actually somewhat embarrassing when the gear turned so that she was upside down. But, Alice muddled through as she had been given a starter pistol by the tin man filled with marshmallowy hay to use for protection should it be necessary during all these embarrassing moments and others.
When the gear finally stopped at the foot of the mountain Alice dismounted. She was a little unsteady, being as gear travel is most dizzying. At the top of the mountain sat the tooth troll, gnashing his teeth.
Have you ever seen a tooth gnash before?
No? Well, I can assure you that it is not a particularly pleasant thing to see, especially after two ciders and a dizzying ride inside a gear.
But Alice, being particularly brave, spied her tooth sitting near the top of the mountain. She ran up the crumbling pile of rotten teeth and took hers, then shot the tooth troll with marshmallowy hay from her starter pistol.
You can imagine that the tooth troll was not particularly pleased with this. He chased after Alice who was running down the road, gear travel not being available at this time.
Now the troll was fat, but still magical. He soon caught up with Alice. And when he had caught Alice and retrieved the stolen tooth he said that she was even more naughty now. As punishment she would be tasked with retrieving teeth for him from all children in the world, naughty or not, forever.
Alice couldn’t quite figure out why taking back a tooth that was stolen from her was naughty, but then this is not her story, is it? Regardless, it turns out that she is now in eternal service to the tooth troll and has to travel the world collecting rotten and not rotten teeth from all children who put their discarded and fallen out teeth under their pillow at night.
But, she feels guilty about this. She leaves behind a little of the tooth troll’s money as payment for the tooth, unbeknownst to the tooth troll. She’s not really naughty, you see. And, she is not a fairy.
© William Miles 2018
Height: 15 cm
Width: 11 cm
Depth: 11 cm
Weight: 700 grams