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I like to watch the wheel. Helps me forget.
Rumplestiltskin to Belle src

Spinning Wheels are items featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the fifth episode of the first season.

The Spinning Wheels are based on the items of the same name from the fairytale "Rumpelstiltskin", the fairytale "Sleeping Beauty, and the Disney film Sleeping Beauty.


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Reason: Events of Season Four and onwards.

Before First Curse

As a child, Rumplestiltskin is dropped off at the home of two spinsters while his father, Malcolm, searches for a job. While there, he is taught by the spinisters to spin wool on the wheel. Impressed by the boy's skill, they boast that he could probably spin for kings and queens one day. Pleased, Rumplestiltskin envisions a future where he will make a living as a wool spinner and financially support himself and his father. However, the spinisters warn that Malcolm is a no-good liar and cheat. Despite that, Rumplestiltskin still continues to believe his father is capable of changing until Malcolm abandons him. ("Think Lovely Thoughts")

Years later, in adulthood, Rumplestiltskin marries a woman named Milah and they make a living as wool spinners. Hoping to prove himself as a courageous man, unlike his cowardly father, he joins the Ogre War as a soldier. Unexpectedly, Rumplestiltskin receives a prophecy from a seer in which Milah will soon give birth to their son, but he himself will make his child fatherless. Desperate to change the foreseen future, he deliberately injuries himself and is sent home, though his marriage takes a turn for the worse. Milah, too disappointed in her husband's actions, grows distant and later eventually runs away with a pirate, though Rumplestiltskin is duped into believing she was kidnapped by the same man. Too ashamed to give his son the truth, Rumplestiltskin lies and states Milah is dead. Throughout his son, Baelfire's childhood, he and his father continue to work as wool spinners. ("Desperate Souls", "The Crocodile", "Manhattan")

After Rumplestiltskin gains ultimate power as the Dark One, he absorbs the seer's foresight ability; therefore allowing him to see into the future. In one future, he sees a woman, Cora, whose first-born child will serve a great purpose to him. At the same time, Cora, after boasting to the king of her skill in spinning straw into gold, is forced to do so in order to save her own life and win the prince's hand in marriage. In the nick of time, Rumplestiltskin tracks Cora down and teaches her to spin straw into gold. As payment for his services, he asks for her first-born child, which she agrees to. Later on, the two fall in love, with Rumplestiltskin changing the deal so any child she has with him will fulfill the terms, and they plan to run away together. In the end, Cora changes her mind, despite that she truly loves him, and instead chooses a life of power and luxury with the prince. ("The Miller's Daughter")

In another deal, Rumplestiltskin barters for a maid, Belle, in exchange for protecting her father's land from the rampaging ogres. While she is cleaning his home, she notices him spinning straw into gold. When she inquires about it, Rumplestiltskin claims spinning helps him to forget what he once lost. ("Skin Deep")

After First Curse

After the breaking of the curse, Mr. Gold is reunited with Belle and learns she was locked up for twenty-eight years by the town mayor, Regina. She makes him promise not to use magic to get revenge on Regina, which goes against by sending a Wraith to suck out the mayor's soul. When Belle learns the truth, Mr. Gold snaps at her; remarking that she's only known the current him for a short time. Disappointed and hurt, she leaves the pawnshop in tears of frustration. Later, Regina is saved from the Wraith while Mr. Gold, remorseful about upsetting Belle, absentmindedly spins his wheel. Belle returns; deciding to stay with him, although both of them know he is a monster. ("Broken")

Belle wakes up from a nightmare in which Mr. Gold reverts to his old, cruel self as Rumplestiltskin. While wandering around the pawnshop, she finds him in the basement spinning his wheel and making potions. She questions Mr. Gold about this later only to be rebuffed and disappears, without telling him, due to being angry that he is hiding secrets from her. Not much later, Mr. Gold reveals to her that he needs magic in order to find his long-lost son. ("The Crocodile")

After discovering Henry is travelling to the Netherworld and communicating with Aurora, who is from the Enchanted Forest, where Emma and Mary Margaret are trapped, Mr. Gold asks him to deliver a message to them. Henry attempts to tell Aurora, as Mr. Gold requested, about a special squid ink that Emma and Mary Margaret can use to defeat their nemesis, Cora, but fails. As a consequence of Henry's repeated trips to the Netherworld, he receives physical burns. David volunteers to go in his place, so Regina brews a batch of the Sleeping Curse. In the "old-fashioned way" of enacting the curse, David's finger is pricked on a spinning wheel's spindle.("Into the Deep")

During Second Curse

Affected by another curse, the Enchanted Forest inhabitants once again return to Storybrooke. This time, due to the Wicked Witch of the West's interference, their memories of the last year spent in the Enchanted Forest are erased. Despite that all believe Mr. Gold is long dead, after his sacrifice in killing both himself and his father to save the townspeople, he is alive and being held prisoner by the Wicked Witch, Zelena, in a cellar. During the forgotten year in the Enchanted Forest, Neal sought out to resurrect him. He is tricked by an accomplice of the Wicked Witch, Lumiere, into fitting a key into the vault of the Dark One. While this causes the Dark One to be revived, it costs Neal's life, though he is kept alive once his father absorbs him into his own body. Under the new curse, Mr. Gold descends into madness due to Neal's presence in his mind. Utilizing a spinning wheel in his prison cell, he furiously turns straw into gold in the hopes of "cleansing" the madness from his head. While Zelena is away, he breaks out and flees. David, Emma, Hook, and Regina later come across the spinning wheel as well as the spun gold and conclude Mr. Gold must be alive. ("The Tower")

Continuing to spin, Mr. Gold creates a handful of gold strands when Zelena walks into his cell. Taking his creation, Zelena reminds him what he once said—that spinning helps to cleanse his head—and then she uses magic to transform the pile into a golden brain. Fittingly, it symbolizes Mr. Gold's brain, which is the third ingredient Zelena needs for her time spell. Placing the brain in a box along with the two other ingredients, David's sword and Regina's heart, she prepares to collect the final ingredient—a baby. ("Kansas")


On-screen Notes

Fairytales and Folklore

  • The spinning wheel is a key element from the original fairytale, Rumpelstiltskin.
  • In the same fashion as the character Sleeping Beauty in the fairytale of the same name, David pricks his finger on a spinning wheel's spindle. ("Into the Deep")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


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