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This article focuses on Baelfire's Enchanted Forest persona.
For his Land Without Magic alias, see Neal Cassidy.
For his Wish Realm counterpart, see Baelfire (Wish Realm)
I won't let magic destroy this family. This is the only way. You have to let me go.
—Baelfire to Wendy Darling src

Baelfire, also known as Bae, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the eighth episode of the first season. He is portrayed by guest stars Dylan Schmid and Brandon Spink, and co-stars Sebastian Wilkinson and Dean Petriw. He is the Enchanted Forest alias of Neal Cassidy, and the main reality version of Baelfire.


Before First Curse

In one of the Enchanted Forest's villages, a couple, Rumplestiltskin and Milah, make their living by spinning wool. Rumplestiltskin is drafted into the ogre war, and Milah, though afraid for her husband's safety, gives her blessings for him to fight on the battlefield. During the months spent training to be a soldier, he encounters a seer that can predict the future. She prophesies Milah's impending pregnancy and the birth of their son, and that Rumplestiltskin will indeed become a father, but he will also lose his son because of his actions on the battlefield. Assuming this means he will die, Rumplestiltskin purposely injures his foot so he can be sent home. When he arrives back, he walks in on Milah, who is tending to their infant son. She reveals having named the boy Baelfire, explaining that he needs a strong name if the rumors of what Rumplestiltskin did to himself are true. Rumplestiltskin tries to clarify why he had to because he didn't want their son to be without a father, but Milah thinks his excuses about the seer and prophecy are absurd. Humiliated that her husband is a coward, she argues that if he had fought and died in the war, their son could have at least have an immortalized image of how brave he was, instead of Rumplestiltskin being alive and a deserter. ("Manhattan")

Years later, after Baelfire has grown to be a young child, he wanders off from his parents while they are in the woods. Milah, taking on the bulk of the housework, refuses help from her husband, deeming him incapable and even suggests he go play with their son instead. Seeing a snake slither by, a curious Baelfire reaches his hand out to the reptile, only to be bitten by it. His scream alerts his parents, and they find him curled up in pain from the bite. After Milah kills the snake, she and Rumplestiltskin take it to a healer, Fendrake, who tells them the bite is fatal and their son doesn't have much time left. He offers them an antidote for a hundred gold coins, which the couple does not have. With Baelfire's life at stake, Milah devises a plan for Rumplestiltskin to kill Fendrake and steal the potion. While her husband is away on the mission, she returns home to watch over her sickly son. Rumplestiltskin comes back with the antidote, and after having Baelfire drink it, he is cured of the snake's poison. Milah learns that, instead of killing Fendrake, Rumplestiltskin agreed to owe him his second-born child. Angered that he made the choice without her consent, Milah becomes even more distant from her husband, driving a further wedge in their marriage. ("Devil's Due")

Some years after this, Milah frequently spends her days drinking and gambling at the tavern, where she keeps company with a pirate, Killian, and his crewmen. One day, Rumplestiltskin returns home, finding Baelfire all alone without his mother. Taking his son with him, Rumplestiltskin goes to the tavern, but before going in to look for Milah, he has Baelfire wait outside. Milah shows no interest in going home with her husband until Baelfire comes in to call for her, to which she leaves for her child's sake. Unhappy with the life she leads, Milah talks about wishing to explore and see the world, and she tries to entertain the idea to her husband. Instead, he asks her to try to be family for Baelfire, so she reluctantly agrees. During the night, however, Milah leaves her family to join Killian on his ship. Hearing rumors that his wife was kidnapped by the pirate, Rumplestiltskin pleads with Killian for Milah's release, but nothing comes out of it when he is too cowardly to face Killian in a sword fight. ("The Crocodile")

After failing to retrieve Milah, Rumplestiltskin lies to his son about her death, rather than admit the truth about her disappearance. One day, Baelfire and his father see the neighbor's daughter, Morraine, who recently turned fourteen, be taken away by soldiers and drafted into the Ogre War. One of the soldiers taunts Rumplestiltskin about his runaway wife, which confuses Baelfire. Later, he asks his father what the man meant, to which Rumplestiltskin sticks to his story that his mother is dead. With his son's fourteenth birthday only days away, Rumplestiltskin fears his son will be taken away to fight in the war. Though Baelfire is willing to go to war, this is simply an option his father doesn't even want to consider. To prevent this from happening, he slays Zoso, "The Dark One", taking on his powers in order to protect Baelfire. On the day Baelfire turns fourteen, soldiers come to take the boy away, but Rumplestiltskin comes upon the men, slaughtering all of them with magic, while his son watches in horror. ("Desperate Souls")

With his magic, Rumplestiltskin kills every ogre and ends the war, with most of the villagers hailing him as a hero for his brave deed, except for Beowulf, who believes him to be a monster and that his dark magic will come at a price the villagers will pay for. Baelfire asks his father to stop using magic now that the ogres are defeated, and Rumplestiltskin reluctantly agrees. However, a few days later, Baelfire is thrown in the mud by the baker's son, which covers his face and makes him look like a monster. He attempts to wash it off before his father notices, but when his father finds out, he asks him not to overreact. When villagers beg Rumplestiltskin to fight a beast called Grendel, which several villagers, including Beowulf, have gone to slay unsuccessfully, Baelfire encourages his father to do it without using magic, as proof to the villagers that he's not a monster. Rumplestiltskin agrees, however, he secretly brings the dagger along. During the trip to Grendel's cave, Baelfire sees the dagger after catching his father reaching for it, to which Rumplestiltskin forfeits the dagger to him, telling his son to stop him if he tries to use magic. The pair discover corpses of villagers in the cave, but Rumplestiltskin realizes there is no Grendel after finding an ogre horn. Beowulf, the actual culprit, steals the dagger, with plans of making the villagers think Rumplestiltskin is a murderer while he himself is a hero. Using the dagger, Beowulf commands him to stand still as he goes to get the villagers. Baelfire flees for help, and is able to snatch the dagger from Beowulf before summoning Rumplestiltskin, who fights Beowulf but doesn't kill him. While Rumplestiltskin wants to reveal Beowulf's evil nature to the villagers, Beowulf mocks him, stating that the villagers are afraid of him and will never believe him. As the man turns to leave, Baelfire's anger fuels him into commanding his father to murder Beowulf, despite that Rumplestiltskin doesn't want to. After arriving home, Baelfire expresses his newfound belief that they need the dagger to protect themselves. Rumplestiltskin, not wanting his son to succumb to darkness like him, spikes Baelfire's tea with a memory potion. Moments after drinking it, Baelfire loses all recollection of how they got out of the cave and away from Beowulf, though Rumplestiltskin assures him that Beowulf won't bother them again. When Baelfire sees Beowulf's sword, he accuses Rumplestiltskin of using dark magic to kill Beowulf, while his father can only sadly reply that he did what he had to do. ("Ill-Boding Patterns")

Rumplestiltskin grows more powerful and intimidating as the Dark One, but also begins keeping Baelfire at home from the outside world. While the boy is drawing, Rumplestiltskin returns home with a knife and gives it to him to use for sharpening his coal. Upset, Baelfire knocks it off the table to the floor and proclaims he wants nothing his father gains from being the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin then asks his son what desires and Baelfire admits he desires freedom. His father misunderstands and thinks he desires to live in a castle, but Baelfire, in actuality, wants to be able to go out and have friends. Rumplestiltskin forbids this as he worries it will be a way for his enemies to kidnap Baelfire and hold him captive. However, Baelfire wonders if his father's protectiveness is actually a fear his own son will leave and never come back. For a moment, Rumplestiltskin looks surprised but quickly asserts his feelings are out of concern for Baelfire's safety and acknowledges it'd be an unthinkable thing to lose him. One night, Baelfire is drawn into following the sound of the Pied Piper's musical flute to a bonfire. Once there, he befriends the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Peter Pan, and happily spends time with other boys his age. Pan wants to bring him back to his own world, Neverland, but plans to make a deal with Baelfire's father, Rumplestiltskin. As a choice of free will, Pan tells Baelfire that Rumplestiltskin must ask his own son whether he wishes to stay or leave for Neverland. In doing so, it will prove Rumplestiltskin trusts and cares for his son. When Pan presents his arrangement to the Dark One, he refuses to comply and teleports Baelfire home with him. Out of parental concern for his son's safety, Rumplestiltskin briefly talks about his relationship with Pan, which ended with him being betrayed by the latter. Despite that, Baelfire calls him out about the deal Pan offered. Had Rumplestiltskin given him the choice, he declares it would have been to stay with his father. Bitterly, he contemplates the lost chance at being a family with him, though Rumplestiltskin says they still can. Rejecting the notion, Baelfire storms out. ("Nasty Habits")

Later, Rumplestiltskin ends the Ogre War and saves thousands of children's lives, but Baelfire wishes for things to return as they were before he became the Dark One. He is worried that magic will continue to corrupt his father and wants him to be rid of. Rumplestiltskin shows his son the dagger and explains that can't happen unless someone were to kill him with it. However, he agrees to part with magic if Baelfire can find a way to make it possible without dying. While contemplating this, Baelfire's friend Morraine tells him about the Reul Ghorm she heard of during the war. He goes and finds the Reul Ghorm, which turns out to be the Blue Fairy. She gives him a magic bean so he and his father can go to a "land without magic". He rushes back home to show Rumplestiltskin the bean and they head out to the woods. After Baelfire opens a portal with it, Rumplestiltskin backs out of their deal; unwilling to give up his powers. As they argue, Baelfire nearly slips into the portal, but his father grabs and tries to pull him back up by using the dagger as an anchor. He urges Rumplestiltskin to come with him but, torn between magic and his son, Rumplestiltskin makes a split decision to let go of his son's hand. Baelfire falls into the portal as it closes. ("The Return")

Through the portal, Baelfire lands in a new world. At first, he still calls for his father but realizes he is now alone. For months, he wanders the streets searching for leftover bits of food. He uses a propped ladder against an open window to his advantage and climbs in to see a table of food. Baelfire gorges on it to satisfy his hunger until one of the residents of the house, Wendy, takes him for a thief. Once Wendy notices that he's starving, she kindly offers him as much bread as he likes. She takes pity on Baelfire and hides her new friend in the nursery room cubby-hole and sneaks up food for him for weeks until being caught by her parents. Though Wendy tries to speak up in Baelfire's favor, her mother won't hear of it and surprises everyone by allowing him to stay as a house guest. From then on, Baelfire joins Wendy and her two brothers, John and Michael, in the nursery and gains his own bed. One night, he awakens to see Wendy sitting on the windowsill. Excitedly, she tells him about a shadow dancing outside and how it moves like magic. The mention of magic displeases Baelfire, who shares his own experience of it destroying his whole life, and will do the same to her family as well. He makes her promise never to open the window for the Shadow, but she cannot contain her curiosity. On a different night, he catches her opening the window and being whisked off into the air by the Shadow. Horrified, he can only watch but refuses to leave the windowsill until she comes back. When morning comes, Baelfire stirs from sleep to see Wendy is brought back by the Shadow. Though Wendy had a fun time in a place called Neverland, she is frightened since the Shadow wants to take one of her brothers away permanently. Baelfire vows to help her put a stop to it. The following evening, the four children arm themselves with kitchen utensils as weapons. They wait until the Shadow breaks in before scurrying into the cubby hole to hide, but Michael gets left behind. Baelfire prevents the kidnapping by offering himself up instead and is promptly grabbed and taken away to Neverland as Wendy and her brothers watch in fright from the window. As they approach the island of Neverland, he refuses to accept his fate and lights a match to scare off the Shadow. Startled, the creature drops him into the water as Baelfire passes out. After a brief search, the Shadow can't find the boy and flies back to the island. Nearby, a ship sights Baelfire in the water and brings him aboard. Sputtering and confused, Baelfire wakes up to meet the ship's captain, Hook, and one of his crew mates, William Smee. ("Second Star to the Right")

That night, Hook and Smee are contemplating on what to do with Baelfire and decide to turn him in to the Shadow, in order to appease Peter Pan. However, when Hook learns he is Milah's son, he quickly changes his mind and protects him from the Lost Ones, who come looking for him. Hook befriends Baelfire and even starts acting like a father, partially to find out more about Rumplestiltskin, but also because he is Milah's son. He teaches Baelfire to steer a ship and the two bond over their shared experiences of both being abandoned by their fathers. Baelfire tells Hook that his father is the Dark One, and how he was always more concerned about a magic dagger that could kill him. A few days later, in one of the rooms below deck, Baelfire discovers a drawing of Milah. Angered, he demands the truth from Hook, who confesses that he and Milah ran away to be together out of love, but then Rumplestiltskin killed her. Hook pleas that Milah always wanted to go back for him so the three of them could be a family, and since she is dead, he wants to be one with Baelfire. The boy is unable to see past Hook's lies and deceit, realizing the pirate only wants to know how to kill Rumplestiltskin, and blames him for tearing apart his family as well as for Milah's death. Baelfire commands to be taken back to the Darlings, but that is impossible, so he opts for leaving the ship for Neverland's shores. As he is getting ready to depart on a boat provided by the Lost Ones, Hook, hoping Baelfire will change his mind, gives him one last chance to do so. Baelfire sticks to the plan, prompting Hook to spitefully thank the boy for helping to see that he only needs revenge and nothing else. Once he reaches the coast of Neverland, the Lost Ones pull him out where an older boy, Felix, awaits to examine Baelfire's face with a drawing of someone Pan is seeking. The drawing is not a match, and Baelfire is sent off with the other boys. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning")

For events taking place after his definitive arrival to the Land Without Magic, see Neal Cassidy.


Malcolm/Peter Pan
Black Fairy
GideonBaelfire/Neal Cassidy
Emma Swan
Henry Mills


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationship
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships and relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Baelfire/Neal and Emma have never been married



  • "Baelfire" is another word for bonfire,[2] a large fire built outdoors, as for signaling or in celebration of an event. "Baelfire" can be spelled in a number of different ways, including Bale Fire, Beal Fire and Bel Fire, and is the hallmark of any Beltane celebration.[3]
    • Emma alludes to this when she lies to Henry and says that his father was training to be a fireman, and died saving a family from a burning building. ("True North")
  • According to Rumplestiltskin, Baelfire is "such a strong name". ("Manhattan")

Character Notes

Storybook Notes

Rumpelstiltskin was a mild-
mannered and curiously
unremarkable man who lived a
rather unremarkable life.
Along with his wife and
young son, Baelfire, he lived
in a modest wooden hut on
the outskirts of the village, making his living by
spinning wool into the thread that he would barter
or sell to the people thereabouts.
Rumplestiltskin's fortunes were to change that
beautiful day that the Duke’s soldiers rode into the
village They were rounding up all men and children
of a serviceable age, garnering recruits to fight in
terrible, never-ending Ogre Wars.
Young Baelfire saw a young girl, a cherished
childhood companion being wrestled from her
parents. Not [obscured] he ran home to
tell his father.
"Papa, Papa," Baelfire gasped, out of breath,
[obscured] come to take Morraine away!"
[obscured] rose from the spinning stool;
[obscured] he limped outside.There

was a commotion down the land, past his neighbour's
stable. The soldiers were dragging a young girl from
the arms of her distraught and pleading parents.
"Please do not take our Morraine," the
mother beseeched, her arms outstretched.
The guard was unshakable. "Your daughter is
strong and will make a fine soldier!"
"But there must be a mistake," her father
responded. "She is only thirteen…"
"I am under orders from the Duke", replied
the guard. "The wars have taken a turn-for-the
worst and the age of those we seek has been
lowered – by decree!"
As the guard was about to hoist the young girl
onto his horse, her father pulled out a knife from his
[illegible word]. "Stop! You cannot have her!" he bellowed,
thrusting the blade aimlessly into the air.
All of a sudden, the father ceased wavering
and [illegible word] motionless, like a statue, bound as if by
some [illegible word] and abysmal power. Everyone gathered
thereabouts gaped and looked towards to the
[two illegible words] over to where a dark hooded man
on a black horse was enacting a diabolical spell.

Props Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


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