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This article focuses on August W. Booth's Storybrooke alias.
For his Enchanted Forest identity, see Pinocchio.

I've lived a life of selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty. And only I can cure that... not magic, not science. Just me.
—August to Tamara src

August Wayne Booth, also known as Pinocchio and briefly as the Stranger, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the ninth episode of the first season. He is portrayed by guest star Eion Bailey. He is the Land Without Magic alias of Pinocchio, and the main reality version of Pinocchio.


For events occurring before the casting of the first curse, see Pinocchio.

During First Curse

Many years pass after Pinocchio abandons Emma, he adopts the name August Wayne Booth. ("Tallahassee")

Some years later, August catches Neal in Portland after he and Emma successfully steal watches. He insists that if Neal truly cares for Emma, he will leave her to her destiny and not allow her to be caught up in his life. At first, Neal refuses, because he truly loves Emma. To weaken Neal's resolve, August fetches a wooden box from his own motorcycle, revealing a typewriter with a piece of paper with the words, "I know you're Baelfire". Shaken by August's knowledge of his past identity, Neal agrees to disappear from Emma's life, allowing her to be arrested for the watch theft. ("Tallahassee", "Manhattan")

After a few months, August meets up with Neal in Vancouver. Neal, torn over leaving Emma, asks where she is now. August states that she is sentenced to eleven months in jail and is in a minimum security prison in Phoenix, and though Neal wants to go to her, the latter reminds him of their deal. Since he can't visit her, Neal turns over keys to a car and the money he got from the stolen watches, that he wishes Emma to have. Neal also asks that, if things ever change in Emma's life which allow him to be with her, he wants August to contact him. In turn, August promises to send a postcard if that happens. Instead of delivering the money to Emma, August keeps it for himself, eventually going to Phuket, Thailand. From there, he mails the car keys to her while she is still incarcerated. ("Tallahassee")

At some point during his time in Phuket, August meets the Apprentice, who guides him into learning more about the storybook. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

During a morning in October 2011, August awakens at eight-fifteen to a shooting pain in his leg as he begins reverting into wood. He goes to a hospital in Hong Kong for a remedy, but the doctor cannot see his leg is wooden. August desperately tries to prove otherwise by stabbing himself in the leg, but this frightens the doctor, who calls security. After eluding capture, he meets a man who claims that, for the right price, a healer called the "Dragon" can help him. At the Dragon's clinic, he sits in the waiting room for his turn. A female patient, Tamara, is called into the Dragon's office, she drops her cellphone, which August picks up and hands back to her. When it is August's turn with the Dragon, he discovers the healer already knows he is Pinocchio. As payment for the cure, the Dragon takes a whale-shaped necklace, something August's father used to animate him into a puppet. Secondly, August must give ten-thousand U.S. dollars, which he doesn't have. That night, he meets Tamara at a bar, and she details her miraculous recovery from cancer, all thanks to the Dragon, after she forfeited a photo of herself and her grandmother. While Tamara takes a phone call, August steals her money and gives it to the Dragon. The Dragon gives the cure as promised, but he warns that only August can truly heal himself. When Tamara confronts him for stealing, August runs, until agonizing pain from leg makes him collapse and drop the cure. Tamara retrieves the cure, and before leaving, she bitterly remarks that he deserves whatever condition he has. A few days later, he returns to ask the Dragon to cure him again, but finds the man mysteriously dead, not knowing Tamara killed him. In the Dragon's belongings, August finds research about the storybook Author and takes it with him. Realizing he cannot outrun his fate, August decides to convince Emma to believe in the curse and break it, in the hopes doing so will reverse his wooden state. Before going to Storybrooke, he goes to Neal, who now resides in New York City, to fill him in on his plans. ("Selfless, Brave and True", "Poor Unfortunate Soul")

Some time later, August rides into Storybrooke on his motorcycle, where he meets Emma and Henry for the first time. He asks them where he can find a place to stay, and Emma directs him to Granny's inn. Before he drives off, she asks him what he said his name was, to which he replies that he never gave it. The next morning, he is repairing his motorbike in front of the mayor's house, and Henry comes out to talk to him. August deflects most of the boy's questions, and just as Regina walks out and notices the stranger talking to her son, he drives off before she walks up. She asks Henry who that is, but her son does not answer her. Later, when Regina sends her to learn more about the stranger, Emma questions him at Granny's Diner, while he is drinking coffee. They have several minutes of back and forth banter, in which he taunts her about the wooden box he carries around, but he eventually agrees to show her what is inside if she will let him buy her a drink sometime. She agrees to this, and he opens the box to reveal a typewriter. Upon further inquiry, he states that he is a writer and that he came to Storybrooke because it was full of inspiration. As he gets up to leave, Emma asks him about the drink he promised her. He grins and says, "Sometime," then walks out the door. ("7:15 A.M.")

After Henry's castle is destroyed, August takes the storybook from its hiding place and brings it back to his room at the bed and breakfast. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree")

On his way out of the diner, August runs into Emma and suggests she take him up on his prior offer of buying her a drink. At first, she is reluctant, but after some encouragement from Granny and August telling her what his name is, she agrees, and he takes her to a "wishing well" that, according to legend, has magical water that can restore a lost item to a person. Secretly, August begins "repairing" Henry's storybook, adding the story of Pinocchio to it. The next day, after completing this story addition, August plants the book in a box on the street near Emma's parked car. He then goes across the street, hiding behind a corner, where he watches Emma approach the car and begin brushing leaves off of her vehicle. When Emma finds the book, she looks up and around herself, mystified about how it got there. ("What Happened to Frederick")

A few days later, while having a meal at the diner, August talks to Ruby, telling her about his adventures while travelling. He recounts visiting Nepal and how their temples were infested with lemurs. When Ruby inquires about his adventures further, her grandmother calls her over impatiently. August silently witnesses Ruby confronts her grandmother before quitting her job at the diner. ("Red-Handed")

Many days later, after Ruby and her grandmother reconcile, August finds Henry poring over his storybook. They have a quick discussion about Mary Margaret's arrest over Kathryn's disappearance, and August reveals that the storybook's tales just might be true. This excites Henry, and the mysterious writer admits his real reason for coming to Storybrooke is to help Emma believe in Operation Cobra. When Henry tells him that he wants to find proof of Mary Margaret's innocence, August implies that he should look in the book for answers. ("Heart of Darkness")

Reaching a dead end in her search for proof that Regina is responsible for Kathryn's disappearance, Emma receives advice from August, who tells her to go over the case again starting from the point of view she has now. Heading back to the scene where Ruby found Kathryn's heart, Emma finds a chipped piece of what seems to be a shovel. Later that night, August and Emma, with the help of Henry, enter Regina's garage and find a shovel with a missing section that fits the chipped piece they found earlier. The next day, Emma tries to confront Regina about it, but the shovel had been replaced with a new one. Emma later blames August for telling Regina about the shovel, and when he denies her accusation, she suspects he is lying. However, after finding a "bug" spying device in a vase left for her by Sidney, Emma apologizes to August for doubting him. They are interrupted by Ruby screaming, who tells them, "She's in the alley." August stays behind to calm down Ruby, while Emma enters the alley, finding Kathryn alive. ("The Stable Boy")

The next day, in his inn room, August wakes up with intense pain in his left leg and falls off the bed. When the phone rings, he drags himself to the desk to pick up the call. With Henry on the line, August tells him their plan is taking too long and it needs to be accelerated. With his own intentions of searching for Mr. Gold's dagger, he tricks Henry into sneaking into the pawnshop as a decoy. Henry, believing this is part of Operation Cobra, does as August asks. Sneaking through the backdoor, August snoops around until he is caught by Mr. Gold and feigns looking for a map. With the murder charges against Mary Margaret dropped, a party is held in her apartment to welcome her back. There, Henry inquiries about the pawnshop search, but August states it was unsuccessful. Later, August seeks guidance from Mother Superior about reuniting with his father, who he parted with on bad terms. A suspicious Mr. Gold interrogates the nun about what August told her, and when she discloses the reason, he mistakenly believes the man is his lost son Baelfire. That evening, Mr. Gold apologizes to August for abandoning him and asks for forgiveness. August plays along, eventually asking him for the dagger, which the latter gives willingly. However, when August attempts to use it against him, Mr. Gold realizes he is not Baelfire. Under duress, August confesses he is from the Enchanted Forest, and his sickness can only be cured with magic. Believing him to be useful, Mr. Gold allows him to live in order to get Emma to believe in magic. ("The Return")

In fear Regina may try to get back at her, Mary Margaret has August install new locks on her apartment door. Emma, also present, mentions to them that she is building a custody case against Regina with Mr. Gold's help. August later insists he can help her beat Regina, if she comes with him, but she refuses. At his inn room, August phones Mr. Gold, asking to meet him at the pawnshop. Upon arriving there, August walks in, seeing his father Marco collecting a broken clock from Mr. Gold. Marco, on his way out, greets August, who is too stunned to respond. After Marco is gone, Mr. Gold prompts him about why he seems more scared to talk to his own father than he is of dying. August avoids the topic, and instead, talks about needing help with Emma, because he can't get her to believe in magic while she is preoccupied with the custody battle. Mr. Gold expresses doubts about trusting August, considering his true nature, but he agrees to nudge Emma in August's direction. After being refused help by Mr. Gold, Emma turns to August for assistance with the custody battle. August takes her to the place where she was abandoned as a baby, confessing he was the seven-year-old boy who found her, and he shows her the tree they both came through from the Enchanted Forest. He reveals details about Emma only she would know about, such as the blanket she was wrapped in as an infant. When August admits he is Pinocchio, she does not believe him, so he shows her his wooden leg, but her doubt in magic causes her to only see a normal leg. As they argue, he becomes increasingly upset Emma doesn't want to believe she is the townspeople's only hope. She flat out refuses to be responsible for everyone else's happiness, and then leaves. Failing to help Emma, August accepts his inevitable fate of turning back into wood. With little time left, he decides to spend it with his father. While Marco is in his workshop fixing the clock, August tells him how to repair it while also asking to be his apprentice. Marco states he cannot pay him, but August is fine with that. ("The Stranger")

As his transformation into wood speeds up, August is visited by Henry, who is panicking over Emma's desire to leave Storybrooke forever. August admits he wasn't able to make Emma believe in magic, and now, he is paying the price for that failure. He reveals his now wooden arm, which he calls the "unvarnished truth", and Henry realizes that August is Pinocchio. August explains how hard it is for him to continue moving and soon it will be hard to breathe, and he just wants to spend his last bit of time with Marco. Having failed at the mission, he encourages Henry to continue Operation Cobra. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

After Henry falls into a coma from taking a bite of the apple turnover, which Regina poisoned, Emma finally believes in the curse. She goes to August's room, hoping he can help her cure Henry. August cannot open the door and Emma enters, seeing him lying on the bed, mostly turned to wood. Emma doubts she can save Henry on her own, but he manages to tell her that she can succeed without him, just before completely turning to wood. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

After Emma breaks the dark curse and magic arrives in Storybrooke, August is still laying in his bed at Granny's Bed and Breakfast and he blinks. He is fully functional in his capabilities to move, but he stays wooden. Sometime following this, he goes to Mother Superior and asks her to return him back to how he used to be, but she can do no such thing if he has not stayed selfless, true and brave. Too ashamed to let Marco and the other townspeople see him in his current state, August disappears into the woods, seeking refuge in an abandoned trailer. Later, Marco puts up missing posters, believing his son is still a lost child. After an uproar in which many citizens, including Marco, nearly leave town and lose their Enchanted Forest memories, Henry reveals August's true identity to Marco. Marco visits August's room in Granny's inn, but discovers an empty bed. ("We Are Both", "Selfless, Brave and True")

Keeping the promise he made with Neal years ago, August sends him a pigeon to New York City with a postcard, to let Neal know that the curse is broken. ("Broken", "Tallahassee")

Many weeks later, August is accidentally hit by an arrow loosed by Mary Margaret while she is practicing archery in the woods. After pulling the arrow out, he retreats back into the trailer. Mary Margaret finds him there and tries, unsuccessfully, to convince him into returning to Storybrooke. She explains that many things have happened since he has been gone, such as Henry's father, Neal, returning. This gives August hope that Emma and Neal are back together, but she admits Neal is engaged to someone else. August is saddened by the news, as he was responsible for separating Emma and Neal years ago, and had hopes they reconciled. Despite the bad things he has done, August desires redemption, but he laments that there are things someone can't come back from. Mary Margaret believes everyone deserves a second chance, which August thinks is easy for her to say because she's never needed forgiveness or redemption, not knowing what has transpired between her, Regina, and Cora. She states it is time for him to stop feeling sorry for himself, but he asks her to leave if she truly wants to help him. Overhearing Mary Margaret tell Emma about August's location, Tamara pays him a visit, offering him the Dragon's cure for his condition, if he leaves town and never returns. Unable to deny his own selfishness, August drives out of town, heading for New York, where the cure resides. In the car, he spots a photo of Tamara and her grandmother, which helps him realize Tamara had lied about being sick with cancer. Returning to town, he rushes into the sheriff's office to find Emma, but because she isn't there, he calls her instead. Before he can warn her about Tamara, the phone line cuts off, having been snapped by Tamara. August owns up to living a life of utter selfishness, cowardice and dishonesty, and knows in his heart that only he himself can truly fix the problem without the use of magic or science. He threatens Tamara with exposure of all she's done, but she uses the taser, mortally wounding him. August, collapsing outside the station in his father's arms, makes a final attempt to warn Emma, but he only musters the word "her" before passing away. However, since August was unselfish, brave and true, Mother Superior gives him another chance at life, reverting him to a seven-year old Pinocchio. ("Selfless, Brave and True")

For events occurring after his reversion back into a boy, see Pinocchio.

After Second Curse

Regina, infiltrating Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and Ursula's group, learns they want to find the Author. On their orders, she kidnaps Pinocchio, and with Maleficent, they take him to a cabin in the woods, where Mr. Gold reverts the boy into August with his dagger, hence returning his lost memories, so that they can torture him for information about the Author. ("Enter the Dragon")

Under questioning, August states he obtained research about the Author from the Dragon, but Mr. Gold suspects he is lying and steals a potion from the nuns to force him to tell the truth. After being force-fed the concoction, August briefly reverts to wood, which causes his nose to grow for every lie he tells. Eventually, he admits the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door. Mr. Gold demands to know where the door is, and although August has no idea where it is, he insists Regina knows about a storybook page illustration of the door. While Mr. Gold believes the door is in another physical location, in truth, the door on the page itself can be opened to free the Author, though August does not say this. However, since August doesn't know that Henry currently has the page, the answer he gives Mr. Gold about the door's whereabouts is regarded as truthful and doesn't trigger the potion's lie detector. Once Regina and Maleficent leave with Mr. Gold to search the Sorcerer's mansion for the door, Cruella stays to guard him until Emma and her parents take her out to rescue him. They are stopped by Ursula, who relents after regaining her singing voice and reconciling with her father. While resting at the loft, August learns Regina is actually spying on the villains, and he reveals the door in the illustration can be opened to free the Author. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

As August's condition deteriorates because of the recent magic used on him, he is taken to the nunnery, where Mother Superior looks after him. While Emma continues to worry about August, Hook becomes jealous over her concern for him. To reassure him, she elaborates on her difficulty in making friends after shutting out her first friend, and August has been the only exception since then. Once August gets better, David and Mary Margaret visit him and Hook notifies Emma. After showing August the discovered key to the door illustration, she expresses interest in asking the Author questions about her story. However, there's no guarantee this Author wrote her story as August reveals there have been many Authors over time; each chosen by the Sorcerer and his Apprentice to record tales in the book. With the last Author, as August explains, he began manipulating stories, so the Apprentice imprisoned him in the door illustration. Despite this, Emma recognizes the Author can still alter the course of things and she unlocks the door with the key. The Author, Isaac, is freed, but before she can ask anything, he flees. ("Best Laid Plans")

While everyone is checking the Sorcerer's library for clues on how to stop Isaac and Mr. Gold, Emma asks August for help. Upon arriving there, August shows them a picture of the Apprentice, who can help them stop the Author. Hook, recognizing him as the man Mr. Gold made him trap in the hat, admits what he did. Later, August joins them at the nunnery, where Mother Superior frees the Apprentice from the hat. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Before Third Curse
At some point, August learns about Emma becoming the Dark One.[1] ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

In an effort not to disturb a sleeping Marco, August goes into the house shed to write a story on his typewriter. As he is typing, Emma comes in and brings up a time in her past when he used The Ugly Duckling story to inspire her into changing her fate. She asks if he had known who she was then, and August confirms he did because he kept tabs on her and wanted to make sure she knew that she didn't belong on the streets. When Emma gives him the pages from The Ugly Duckling story, he muses about how happy he was to know she picked the surname "Swan", as he took it to be a sign that she was on her way to being who she wanted to be. Emma admits she is unsure of herself even now, however, she has belief that she can make her own destiny. August encourages her to continue on this path by telling her that belief is the first step. ("Tougher Than the Rest")

August is later visited by David and Hook, who want to know more about Pleasure Island and if August ever saw Robert, David's father, there. He recognizes David's lucky coin, which Robert was wearing at the time that he saw him, and reveals Robert was seeking his other son, James, though he never David had any connection to them. August offers to give David the pages he took from Henry's book that recount what happened there, but David declines, believing he already knows who was responsible for his father's death: King George. Despite this, August locates the pages and later turns them over to Hook outside of his and Emma's house before driving off on his motorcycle. ("Murder Most Foul")


August Booth


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationship
  • Dashed lines denote marriage, adoption relationships, and relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Stephen and Donna are the parents of Marco
  • August is the adopted son of Marco



  • August is named after Wayne Booth,[2] a literary critic who coined the term "unreliable narrator". An "unreliable narrator" is a narrator, usually in fiction, whose credibility is severely compromised and therefore cannot be trusted on the validity of their story. August's fairy tale counterpart, Pinocchio, is known for lying.

Character Notes

Production Notes

  • When Eion Bailey auditioned for August, he didn't know that he was auditioning for adult Pinocchio. The audition material merely consisted of two scenes from the 1967 biographical crime film Bonnie and Clyde.[4]
  • His scenes in "Hat Trick" were cut.
  • In the episode script for an "An Untold Story", the Dragon refers to August as a "conflicted man, but one who knew where to look".[5] That line did not end up in the final episode, as well as Emma's surprised reaction at the Dragon knowing him.
  • August was supposed to have been the one to teach Henry how to ride his motorcycle before his departure for the New Enchanted Forest. However, that part of the dialogue did not make to the final cut of the Season Seven premiere.[6]


  • August is the eighth month of the year; a reference to the second Lost number.
  • August's license plate features the number 23,[7] the fourth number from Lost. ("True North" et al.)
  • Phuket, where August traveled to, is referred to on Lost, including the similarly named episode "Stranger in a Strange Land". ("The Stranger", "Selfless, Brave and True")
  • August woke up in Phuket at 8:15 A.M., two of the Lost numbers. ("The Stranger", "Selfless, Brave and True")

Props Notes

Costume Notes


  • In "The Stranger", in the first shot of Emma and August actively riding the motorcycle with the vehicle headlight on, it shows their stunt doubles.[11]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


Start a Discussion Discussions about August Booth

  • August's quote about writers block

    2 messages
    • I love the quote from August about how he overcomes writers block by rereading what he's already written but I can't find it anywh...
    • (You might have already found the quote yourself by now but I was literally just re-watching this episode the other day so felt I should sh...
  • Pinocchio: Becoming a real BOY instead of a man.

    45 messages
    • Charmed one13 wrote:in the episode Thouger Than Rest  Emma and Regina escapes from Dreamworld  when they back home Emma goes to August ... as...
    • CoolDudeAl wrote:Charmed one13 wrote:in the episode Thouger Than Rest  Emma and Regina escapes from Dreamworld  when they back home Emma goes...