FictionForest

Chapter 2 – The Heart of the Tin Woodman

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

Light off Small Medium Large

The Emperor of the Winkies paused in his story to
reach for an oil-can, with which he carefully oiled the
joints in his tin throat, for his voice had begun to
squeak a little. Woot the Wanderer, having satisfied
his hunger, watched this oiling process with much
curiosity, but begged the Tin Man to go on with his
tale.

“The Witch with the Silver Shoes hated me for having
defied her,” resumed the Emperor, his voice now
sounding clear as a bell, “and she insisted that Nimmie
Amee should never marry me. Therefore she made the
enchanted axe cut off my other arm, and the tinsmith
also replaced that member with tin, including these
finely-jointed hands that you see me using. But, alas!
after that, the axe, still enchanted by the cruel
Witch, cut my body in two, so that I fell to the
ground. Then the Witch, who was watching from a near-by
bush, rushed up and seized the axe and chopped my body
into several small pieces, after which, thinking that
at last she had destroyed me, she ran away laughing in
wicked glee.

“But Nimmie Amee found me. She picked up my arms and
legs and head, and made a bundle of them and carried
them to the tinsmith, who set to work and made me a
fine body of pure tin. When he had joined the arms and
legs to the body, and set my head in the tin collar, I
was a much better man than ever, for my body could not
ache or pain me, and I was so beautiful and bright that
I had no need of clothing. Clothing is always a
nuisance, because it soils and tears and has to be
replaced; but my tin body only needs to be oiled and
polished.

“Nimmie Amee still declared she would marry me, as
she still loved me in spite of the Witch’s evil deeds.
The girl declared I would make the brightest husband in
all the world, which was quite true. However, the
Wicked Witch was not yet defeated. When I returned to
my work the axe slipped and cut off my head, which was
the only meat part of me then remaining. Moreover, the
old woman grabbed up my severed head and carried it
away with her and hid it. But Nimmie Amee came into the
forest and found me wandering around helplessly,
because I could not see where to go, and she led me to
my friend the tinsmith. The faithful fellow at once set
to work to make me a tin head, and he had just
completed it when Nimmie Amee came running up with my
old head, which she had stolen from the Witch. But, on
reflection, I considered the tin head far superior to
the meat one — I am wearing it yet, so you can see its
beauty and grace of outline — and the girl agreed with
me that a man all made of tin was far more perfect than
one formed of different materials. The tinsmith was as
proud of his workmanship as I was, and for three whole
days, all admired me and praised my beauty. “Being now
completely formed of tin, I had no more fear of the
Wicked Witch, for she was powerless to injure me.
Nimmie Amee said we must be married at once, for then
she could come to my cottage and live with me and keep
me bright and sparkling.

“‘I am sure, my dear Nick,’ said the brave and
beautiful girl — my name was then Nick Chopper, you
should be told — ‘that you will make the best husband
any girl could have. I shall not be obliged to cook for
you, for now you do not eat; I shall not have to make
your bed, for tin does not tire or require sleep; when
we go to a dance, you will not get weary before the
music stops and say you want to go home. All day long,
while you are chopping wood in the forest, I shall be
able to amuse myself in my own way — a privilege few
wives enjoy. There is no temper in your new head, so
you will not get angry with me. Finally, I shall take
pride in being the wife of the only live Tin Woodman in
all the world!’ Which shows that Nimmie Amee was as
wise as she was brave and beautiful.”

“I think she was a very nice girl,” said Woot the
Wanderer. “But, tell me, please, why were you not
killed when you were chopped to pieces?”

“In the Land of Oz,” replied the Emperor, “no one can
ever be killed. A man with a wooden leg or a tin leg is
still the same man; and, as I lost parts of my meat
body by degrees, I always remained the same person as
in the beginning, even though in the end I was all tin
and no meat.”

“I see,” said the boy, thoughtfully. “And did you
marry Nimmie Amee?”

“No,” answered the Tin Woodman, “I did not. She said
she still loved me, but I found that I no longer loved
her. My tin body contained no heart, and without a
heart no one can love. So the Wicked Witch conquered in
the end, and when I left the Munchkin Country of Oz,
the poor girl was still the slave of the Witch and had
to do her bidding day and night.”

“Where did you go?” asked Woot.

“Well, I first started out to find a heart, so I
could love Nimmie Amee again; but hearts are more
scarce than one would think. One day, in a big forest
that was strange to me, my joints suddenly became
rusted, because I had forgotten to oil them. There I
stood, unable to move hand or foot. And there I
continued to stand — while days came and went — until
Dorothy and the Scarecrow came along and rescued me.
They oiled my joints and set me free, and I’ve taken
good care never to rust again.”

“Who was this Dorothy?” questioned the Wanderer.

“A little girl who happened to be in a house when it
was carried by a cyclone all the way from Kansas to the
Land of Oz. When the house fell, in the Munchkin
Country, it fortunately landed on the Wicked Witch and
smashed her flat. It was a big house, and I think the
Witch is under it yet.”

“No,” said the Scarecrow, correcting him, “Dorothy
says the Witch turned to dust, and the wind scattered
the dust in every direction.”

“Well,” continued the Tin Woodman, “after meeting the
Scarecrow and Dorothy, I went with them to the Emerald
City, where the Wizard of Oz gave me a heart. But the
Wizard’s stock of hearts was low, and he gave me a Kind
Heart instead of a Loving Heart, so that I could not
love Nimmie Amee any more than I did when I was
heartless.”

“Couldn’t the Wizard give you a heart that was both
Kind and Loving?” asked the boy.

“No; that was what I asked for, but he said he was so
short on hearts, just then, that there was but one in
stock, and I could take that or none at all. So I
accepted it, and I must say that for its kind it is a
very good heart indeed.”

“It seems to me,” said Woot, musingly, “that the
Wizard fooled you. It can’t be a very Kind Heart, you
know.”

“Why not?” demanded the Emperor.

“Because it was unkind of you to desert the girl who
loved you, and who had been faithful and true to you
when you were in trouble. Had the heart the Wizard gave
you been a Kind Heart, you would have gone back home
and made the beautiful Munchkin girl your wife, and
then brought her here to be an Empress and live in your
splendid tin castle.”

The Tin Woodman was so surprised at this frank speech
that for a time he did nothing but stare hard at the
boy Wanderer. But the Scarecrow wagged his stuffed head
and said in a positive tone:

“This boy is right. I’ve often wondered, myself, why
you didn’t go back and find that poor Munchkin girl.”

Then the Tin Woodman stared hard at his friend the
Scarecrow. But finally he said in a serious tone of
voice:

“I must admit that never before have I thought of
such a thing as finding Nimmie Amee and making her
Empress of the Winkies. But it is surely not too late,
even now, to do this, for the girl must still be living
in the Munchkin Country. And, since this strange
Wanderer has reminded me of Nimmie Amee, I believe it
is my duty to set out and find her. Surely it is not
the girl’s fault that I no longer love her, and so, if
I can make her happy, it is proper that I should do so,
and in this way reward her for her faithfulness.”

“Quite right, my friend!” agreed the Scarecrow.

“Will you accompany me on this errand?” asked the Tin
Emperor.

“Of course,” said the Scarecrow.

“And will you take me along?” pleaded Woot the
Wanderer in an eager voice.

“To be sure,” said the Tin Woodman, “if you care to
join our party. It was you who first told me it was my
duty to find and marry Nimmie Amee, and I’d like you to
know that Nick Chopper, the Tin Emperor of the Winkies,
is a man who never shirks his duty, once it is pointed
out to him.”

“It ought to be a pleasure, as well as a duty, if the
girl is so beautiful,” said Woot, well pleased with the
idea of the adventure.

“Beautiful things may be admired, if not loved,”
asserted the Tin Man. “Flowers are beautiful, for
instance, but we are not inclined to marry them. Duty,
on the contrary, is a bugle call to action, whether you
are inclined to act, or not. In this case, I obey the
bugle call of duty.”

“When shall we start?” inquired the Scarecrow, who
was always glad to embark upon a new adventure. “I
don’t hear any bugle, but when do we go?”

“As soon as we can get ready,” answered the Emperor.
“I’ll call my servants at once and order them to make
preparations for our journey.”

 

Leave a Reply