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The Pied Piper is a young man who volunteers to get rid of an army of rats that have invaded the Town of Hamelin. By playing his pipe, he hypnotizes them into leaving the town and and sends them in pursuit of a giant illusionary piece of cheese.
However, the mayor and people of Hamelin show themselves to be thankless by giving him only a single gold coin instead of the promised bag of gold; claiming that the rats left of their own accord while the Piper played on his instrument. Incensed by their betrayal and deciding that their children deserved better than to be allowed to grow up like the corrupt townspeople, The Piper uses his music to lead all the village children out of Hamelin and into an enchanted world, where they can play and laugh all day long.
- Main article: Peter Pan#Once Upon a Time
In this show, the Pied Piper is revealed to be an identity of Peter Pan, who appears in the third season. Rumplestiltskin returns home and discovers his son Baelfire is missing. He tracks him to a village, where the villagers explain that their children are missing as well, lured out of their beds by a Pied Piper in the night. This gives Rumplestiltskin a plan to confront the individual as he waits in the night until he hears the piper's call and moments later witnesses children climbing out windows and following the music. Rumplestiltskin then discovers a group of children masked and costumed, dancing wildly around a fire.
He then tries to find Baelfire amongst the children, and confronts the Pied Piper, who is revealed to be Peter Pan, an old acquaintance of Rumplestiltskin's. After saying it has been a long time, Pan explains that only boys who feel unloved can hear his pipe, which is why Rumplestiltskin can hear him. Pan dares Rumplestiltskin to ask Baelfire if he wants to go back home with him or stay with Pan, stating that Rumple is afraid of what his son's answer might be. But Rumplestiltskin finds Baelfire, and uses his magic to take him back to their home. Rumplestiltskin tries to explain that Pan wanted to hurt him, as Rumplestiltskin has known Pan since he was a boy and that he betrayed him. Baelfire reveals Pan told him about the deal, that if he had been asked to go home, he would have. However his father didn't ask.