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Once Upon a Time (Book)

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Once Upon a Time
General Information
Status: Existing
Origin: Unknown
Current Location: Storybrooke
Physical Description
Type: Book
Color: Brown and Golden
Usage Information
Created by:
  • Unknown
Possessed by:
Used by:
Show Information
First appearance: "Pilot"
Latest appearance: "Going Home"
Relevant Pages

They're not fairy tales...Every story in this book actually happened.

Henry Mills 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.


In the town of Storybrooke, a school teacher named Mary Margaret Blanchard gives the Once Upon a Time book containing fairy tale stories to one of her students, Henry Mills. From reading the book, Henry becomes increasingly perceptive of a curse the residents of Storybrooke are under, and because of the curse, time never moves forward.[1] He becomes convinced the people in town are the fairy tale characters in the book itself. His adoptive mother Regina is so concerned she begins having him see a therapist, Dr. Hopper. Despite this, Henry never gives up on his ideas, and one day, steals Mary Margaret's credit card out of her purse and uses it to find the address of his birth mother, Emma Swan, who he believes is the "savior" of Storybrooke. He tracks her down to Boston, and shows up on her doorstep begging her to come back home with him.

Amidst driving Henry back to Storybrooke, Henry tells Emma that she is in this book. Further explaining the book to her, he tells her that she is the savior meant to break the curse. He strongly believes the Evil Queen, who cast the curse, is his mother, Regina.

When they reach Storybrooke, Emma meets Regina for the first time. Emma mentions the book, but Regina has never heard of it. Later, as Emma is driving out of town, she notices Henry sneakily left the book in her car. A wolf stands in the middle of the road, causing Emma to swerve and crash into the Storybrooke sign. Emma passes out from the shock. The pages of the book mysteriously begin flipping to the many stories within its pages.

The next day, Emma meets Henry's teacher, Ms. Blanchard, who admits she gave him the book because she knew he was lonely, and through giving him the book she hoped it would help to foster hope in his heart.

After Regina has an argument with Emma, she enters Henry's room and sees his book. She looks through it, noticing the pictures of the Evil Queen. ("Pilot")

Regina reads through the book and notices the torn out pages near the back of the book. She questions Henry about it, and he flippantly tells her it is just an old book. Regina refuses to let the matter settle, and is hurt by Henry thinking she's some "evil queen" when she is his mother. Henry remarks she is not his mother.

Regina feels threatened by Emma's presence in town, so she has a little chat with her. 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. He does not want to talk to her, and in an effort to understand and get in on Henry's firm belief in the curse and the Evil Queen, she agrees the curse is crazy and that they must burn the missing pages of the book so that the she does not see them. Emma explains she made Regina believe she thinks Henry is crazy, and through this Regina will not suspect they are plotting to break the curse. Henry thinks her idea 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 Henry's story book, 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 realize that John Doe woke up 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 from the book--the huntsman spared Snow White's life and as a result the Evil Queen ripped his heart out as penance. He also shows Graham a picture of the vault where the hearts are kept. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

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

Henry is distraught when his castle playground is bulldozed away on Regina's orders, and even more so because he hid his book under it, but it is believed to have gotten destroyed in the process. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree")

A town outsider, August Booth, 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. Unknown to her, this was all a ploy enacted by August to convince her to believe in magic, most importantly the curse. ("What Happened to Frederick")

Ruby, after quitting her job at Granny's Diner, is hired by Emma to handle the phones at the Storybrooke Sheriff Department. 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")

Emma is reading Henry's book when August Booth shows up, trying to inspire Emma to continue her efforts in exonerating Mary Margaret. He asks her 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 this to her, 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 piece of a shovel. Later that night, while Regina is in the shower, Henry signals to them with a walkie-talkie that they can look through his garage. While searching the garage, Emma and August discover a shovel with a missing piece that happens to fit the piece they found. Following this, Emma gets a warrant to search the garage. She tells Regina about it, who allows her to search the garage. Emma searches the garage again, yet she cannot find the shovel she and August found the previous night, instead coming across a different shovel. Regina walks in and affirms that Mary Margaret is guilty. Emma questions August, to see if he told Regina about the search, and he replies he didn't, but Emma is unsure. In the Storybrooke Sheriff Department, Emma notices a bug in a flower vase given to her by Sidney Glass after she threw it across the room. Emma, realizing that Regina found out about her plans by the bug and August had no part in it, apologizes to the latter. Soon after, she hears Ruby screaming from outside. When they run into the alley outside the sheriff department they find Kathryn alive, proving Mary Margaret did not murder her. ("The Stable Boy")

Henry is with Emma at Granny's Diner. He informs her that a new story has been added to the book, the story of Pinocchio. It turns out that August Booth is Pinocchio, and he had been the one who added the story of him being sent through the Magic Wardrobe with Emma. Later, he takes Emma out of Storybrooke on his motorcycle to the spot where they found her as a baby. He tells her that he was the boy who found her. When August shows Emma his leg turning to wood, she cannot see it. To her surprise, August believes in the curse, and believes that it is blinding her from seeing him turn into wood. She tells him that she does not want to be the savior, and just wants to get 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; insistent 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 see the entire story of her parents placing her into the wardrobe. ("A Land Without Magic")




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