Once Upon a Time
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Brown and Golden

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First appearance


Latest appearance

Smash the Mirror

"They're not fairy tales... Every story in this book actually happened."
Henry to his birth mother[src]

The Once Upon a Time book is an item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


During First CurseEdit

In the town of Storybrooke, a schoolteacher, Mary Margaret, discovers a book of fairytales in her apartment closet. At the school grounds, she notices one of her students, Henry, is looking glum. He expresses frustration about not belonging in Storybrooke and how his adoptive mother, Regina, doesn't truly love him. To cheer Henry up, she gives him the storybook. Mary Margaret explains that the stories in it signify that things will get better for him if he holds onto hope. While flipping through the book, he looks at a photo of a princess and then sees a hallucination of Mary Margaret as the same person. On a different page, the princess and a prince hold an infant girl. Strangely, Henry recognizes her name as Emma. ("Going Home")

From reading the storybook, Henry begins believing the entire town is under a curse cast by none other by the Evil Queen, who is also apparently his mother, Regina. He becomes convinced the townspeople have forgotten their true selves while trapped in a time freeze. Alarmed by her son's "wild" imagination, Regina sends him to therapy sessions with Dr. Hopper. Despite this, Henry never gives up on his ideas. One day, he skips out on therapy and steals Mary Margaret's credit card to look up his birth mother's information. Certain that his birth mother, Emma, is the savior who will break the curse, Henry shows up on her doorstep. During the drive back to Storybrooke, he animatedly talks to Emma about the curse. Once she drops Henry off at his house, he purposely leaves his storybook in her car. Meeting Regina for the first time, Emma casually mentions the book, but the latter has never heard of it. On the drive out of town, Emma finally notices the storybook is still in her car. Distracted, she crashes the vehicle into the town sign. The next day, Emma meets Henry's teacher, Ms. Blanchard, who admits giving him the book because he's a lonely child, and she hopes it will help foster hope in his heart. Threatened by Emma's presence, Regina coldly urges her to stay out of Henry's life. Then, she takes away the storybook from Henry. As Regina looks through it, she sees pictures of the Evil Queen. ("Pilot")

Continuing to read through the book, Regina notices the last few pages are torn out. When she questions Henry, he flippantly states it's just an old book. Regina is hurt by Henry thinking she's some "evil queen" when she is his mother, though he callously remarks that she is not his mother. In secret, Henry gives Emma the torn out pages to prove that she is the child of Prince Charming and Snow White. He warns against ever letting Regina, or the Evil Queen, see them or else she will know they are trying to break the curse. Meanwhile, Regina schemes to make Emma look bad in Henry's eyes. She manipulates the conversation so Emma says, on cue, that Henry is crazy, which he walks in and overhears. During one session with Dr. Hopper, Emma comes to apologize to Henry. In an effort to understand his insistent imagination, she agrees that the curse is crazy and burns the missing pages of the book so Regina doesn't find them. Emma reasons that she only said what was necessary to throw Regina off their trail, which Henry thinks is brilliant. ("The Thing You Love Most")

After seeing John Doe in the hospital, Henry Mills shows Emma a picture of Prince Charming in his book and notes that they both have the same scar under their chins. He asks Mary Margaret to read to him and she agrees. While reading him the Snow White fairytale, John Doe suddenly grabs her hand. In shock, Mary Margaret calls Dr. Whale to take a look. He tells her that it's not possible and she was just imagining it. The next day, they discover John Doe awoke from his coma and wandered out of the hospital. ("Snow Falls")

Graham has been having dreams of what he believes to be his past life so he visits Henry and asks him if he is in his book. Henry tells him the story of the Huntsman, who spared Snow White's life and as a result the Evil Queen ripped his heart. He also shows Graham a picture of the vault where the hearts are kept. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

Emma discovers two orphans, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, whose mother passed away recently. Henry shows Emma his book once again to point out that the children are Hansel and Gretel. Emma does not believe this, but Henry tells Emma that their father abandoned them, but he must still be in Storybrooke because of the curse. ("True North")

After hiding his book at the castle playground, Henry rushes back to look for it when the entire area is bulldozed on Regina's orders. However, he is unable to find the book and believes it is destroyed. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree")

A town outsider, August, takes Emma to the wishing well for a drink. When they get to this well, they read a plaque that states that this water has magical properties with the ability to return what was once lost. Emma does not believe this, but drinks the water anyway. Later, she is surprised to find Henry's book floating in a puddle underneath her car, which was left there by none other than August, who has been secretly adding new story pages to the book. Unknown to her, this is a ploy enacted by him to convince her to believe in magic and, most importantly, the curse. ("What Happened to Frederick")

Ruby, after quitting her job at the diner, is hired by Emma to handle incoming phone calls at the sheriff station. Henry tells Emma about the entry in the book about her Enchanted Forest identity, Red Riding Hood, and because of this, Ruby is good at finding things. While researching the disappearance of missing resident Kathryn Nolan, Ruby searches the Toll Bridge for clues on Emma's orders and finds a jewelry box with a human heart inside. ("Red-Handed")

Whilst combing the border of Storybrooke in her car for a missing Mary Margaret, she meets a man named Jefferson and takes him to his house. Emma is knocked out by sedatives in the tea she is given and is held at gunpoint as Jefferson tells her the incredulous story of being the Mad Hatter. He asks her to use magic to make his hat "work". He believes the next door family's daughter, Paige, is his daughter, Grace. After Emma escapes, she finds images in Henry's book which are strikingly similar to the story Jefferson told her of himself and his daughter. ("Hat Trick")

As Emma reads through the storybook, August shows up and tries to inspire her efforts in exonerating Mary Margaret. He asks about the extent of her lie-detecting abilities, and how it relates to his writing. August tells her to look back at the fact at the case. After he tells her this, they go back to the crime scene at the Toll Bridge where the heart was found. She continues digging near the hole where Ruby found the heart and discovers a shovel piece. This leads Emma and August, with Henry's help, to investigate Regina's garage where they find a shovel matching the piece they found. However, when Emma returns the next day with a search warrant, a different shovel is in place. Emma accuses August of conspiring with Regina, but later discovers the true backstabber is Sidney, who is spying on her for the mayor. Soon after, Kathryn is discovered alive behind the alley and Mary Margaret is cleared of the murder charges. ("The Stable Boy")

While at the diner with Emma, Henry informs her the story of Pinocchio has recently been added to the storybook. August, the alias of Pinocchio, takes Emma out of Storybrooke on his motorcycle to the spot where she was found her as a baby. He admits being the boy who found her, which she is skeptical of. To prove magic is real, August shows her his wooden leg. However, her disbelief in magic prevents her from seeing what is actually there. To her surprise, August believes in the curse and also thinks she is the savior who will save everyone. She rejects his claims and flees; only intent on getting Henry away from Regina. ("The Stranger")

Although Emma realizes that taking Henry away is not in his best interests, she fears that her presence is also not beneficial. She attempts to drive out of town with Henry, but he stops her; insisting she needs to break the curse. Emma announces to Regina her plans to leave. Regina, who has made an apple turnover from the cursed apple given to Snow White, gives it to Emma for her trip out of town. Henry discovers the apple turnover, and desperate to prove the curse is real, he takes a bite. The effect of the cursed apple causes him to fall into a deep sleep. Emma rushes Henry to the hospital and though she shows the apple turnover to Dr. Whale, he does not believe it could possibly be the cause of Henry's current state. She empties Henry's backpack and discovers the book, which allows her to remember her parents putting her in the wardrobe before the curse overtook them. ("A Land Without Magic")

Before Second CurseEdit

Desperate to rescue Emma and Mary Margaret since they were whisked into a magic hat's portal, David also juggles responsibilities of being a leader to the townspeople. After the panicked citizens learn that crossing out of Storybrooke will result in memory loss, David schedules a town hall meeting in two hours where he'll unveil a plan to deal with the issue. Despite this promise, he struggles while practicing a speech for the event. Looking through the storybook, Henry mentions the hat belongs to the Mad Hatter. Believing this man knows how reactivate the hat, David seeks Mr. Gold for help finding him. ("We Are Both")



Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.