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For your happiness, I would gladly give my life.

—Ruth to David src

Ruth, also known as Peasant Woman,[1] is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She débuts in the sixth episode of the first season and is portrayed by guest star Gabrielle Rose and co-star Tara Wilson.

Ruth is based on the pauper's mother from The Prince and the Pauper. She is also an allusion to Queen Gertrude from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.


Before First Curse

As Ruth gets pregnant, her mother gifts her with a pendant enchanted by a gypsy to reveal the sex of one's first-born. Eventually, she gives birth to twin sons with a farmer, Robert, and they are named David and James. When the twins become sick, Ruth looks after them while her husband goes to procure medicine, but Robert returns empty-handed because they do not have enough money to buy it. Seeing the couple's situation as an opportunity, a wizard named Rumplestiltskin appears to them, offering to provide them with riches if they forfeit one of their children to a barren king and queen. Ruth objects by raising a knife at Rumplestiltskin and proclaiming that their sons are not for sale, but when Rumplestiltskin suggests that rejecting the deal means both children won't survive the winter, Robert reluctantly concedes. Since the parents are unable to choose which child to give up, Rumplestiltskin has Robert flip a coin; if it is heads, David will be taken away, but if it is tails, James will be chosen. James is taken away by Rumplestiltskin after the coin lands on the tails side, with both Ruth and Robert devastated over the loss. ("Lady of the Lake", "The Shepherd", "Murder Most Foul")

As they raise David, Ruth constantly quarrels with her husband about his drinking problems. After Robert learns James has been kidnapped, Robert tells his wife about his plans to track down their son and bring him back to live with them. Ruth is skeptical that James would want to return to a dying farm where he'll have a drunk for a father, but Robert vows to change for David's sake in order to fix their broken family and fix himself in the process. While Ruth is fully aware that her husband is going to look for James, Robert tells David that he will be away on a two week supply run and promises to be sober by the end of it. Unbeknownst to Ruth and David, Robert is nearly killed on King George's orders, only to be executed by a pirate, who then dumps his body in a ravine to make the death look accidental. Later, on the day Robert is set to return home, Ruth and David receive news about his death, and that he supposedly fell into a ravine on his way home after becoming drunk at a tavern. ("White Out", "Murder Most Foul")

Years later, David reaches adulthood and becomes a simple shepherd. On the farm, Ruth and her son face poor business and meet further hardships when a warlord, Bo Peep, begins to badger them for money. When she comes to collect her payment, they do not have enough. Bo Peep then sets a deadline for tomorrow, and if they cannot pool their savings by then, she will forcibly take their farm. Additionally, she brands them, using her shepherd's crook, and states that they will become her slaves if the deal is not met. Despite that David would rather give into Bo Peep's demands, a traveling visitor, Joan, teaches him how to sword fight. After she is imprisoned by the warlord, David defeats Bo Peep and rescues her. The day Joan is set to leave, Ruth thanks her for helping David change, though the latter believes her son always had it in him to not run away from his battles. Having come from a place where her parents had trouble with magic, Joan asks Ruth if there is someone in the Enchanted Forest who can assist her on this matter. Hesitant to speak this person's name, Ruth instead writes it out on paper for her. ("White Out")

When one of the farm's lambs go missing, Ruth awaits the return of David and his tracking dog Wilby after they go to search for the missing animal. David reports finding the lamb, but it had died during the night. Ruth becomes dismayed because their flock is shrinking as their resources are already scarce as it is, and she suggests selling off the farm because they're reached their limit. David departs for Longbourne to fulfill his mother's wishes, however, during the journey, he rescues a friend from harm, and she thanks him by giving him money to save his farm. ("Heartless")

After a trip to the market, Ruth returns home to discuss the prospect of marrying him to a wealthy grain merchant's daughter since the farm is in debt. However, David doesn't want to marry anyone except his true love. She insists that he cannot have everything, but suddenly, Rumplestiltskin arrives to strike a deal with David. He promises if David takes the place of his deceased twin brother, Prince James, and slays a dragon in the kingdom of King Midas, the farm can be saved. After defeating the dragon, King Midas offers him his daughter's hand in marriage. Meanwhile, Ruth receives many riches due to David's success, but her son returns home with a heavy heart. She learns King George threatened to destroy her and the farm if David does not marry King Midas' daughter, Abigail. As a parting farewell gift, Ruth gives him a ring to bestow to the woman he loves. ("The Shepherd")

David, now assuming the name Prince Charming, goes to find his mother again after he awakens his true love, Snow White, from a Sleeping Curse. Previously, he and Snow White agreed to meet at a cottage where his mother is staying. While Ruth is excited to meet the woman her son is going to marry, King George's soldiers arrive first to try and capture Prince Charming. On her son's orders, Ruth locks herself in the cottage, but fearing he has been hurt in battle, she rushes out to help only to be hit by a poisoned arrow. Snow White and a new ally, Lancelot, arrive late, and the foursome head to Lake Nostos to seek out the magical healing powers of the water. During the journey, Ruth shows Snow White an amulet her own mother gave her while she was pregnant and claims it has the power to predict the gender of a woman's child even before conception. She tests it out by suspending the amulet over Snow White's hand, but nothing happens. Miserable, Snow White eventually confesses King George cursed her to be barren forever. Arriving at their destination, the lake is completely dried up, but Lancelot finds a few remaining droplets in a seashell. Ruth offers the water to Snow White so her curse may be undone, which she declines. Despite her future daughter-in-law's refusal, Ruth pretends to drink the water and secretly switches the actual healing substance into Sir Lancelot's hands. On the verge of death, her last wish is to see her son marry. Snow White decides to fulfill it by having Sir Lancelot perform the marriage ceremony. During the union, Snow White drinks from a chalice containing the lake's magical liquid, though she believes it is only ordinary water. By the end of the ceremony, Ruth has passed away peacefully. To honor her death, Prince Charming burns a candle in remembrance. Only after all this, Snow White realizes the sacrifice Ruth made when Prince Charming tests the amulet on her, which miraculously works. ("Lady of the Lake")


RobertKing George
Albert Spencer
Adoptive mother †
Prince JamesPrince Charming
David Nolan
Snow White
Mary Margaret Blanchard
Prince NealKillian Jones
Emma Swan
Neal Cassidy
Jacinda Vidrio
Henry Mills


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage, engagement and adoption relationships, and relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Both Prince James and Prince Charming were adopted by King George
  • Emma and Neal have never been married




Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also