"On her journey down the yellow brick road - a journey, may I remind you, that
grows more dangerous every step she takes - Dorothy meets a number of strange sights She befriends the Scarecrow, and
later the two of them come upon a lumberjack made of tin, standing utterly still in the forest, his ax frozen in midair.
At first, he seems unable to speak. Coming closer, they discover that he is trying to say something after all, "Oil.....can."
After a bit more misunderstanding and misinterpretation, they get the oil can to the joints of his mouth, only to find that
he can speak as well as any man, but that he was rusted. Once he is freed from his prison, he begins to tell them his
The Tin Woodman had once been a real man who had been in love with a beautiful
maiden. It was his dream to marry her, once he could earn enough money to build them a cottage in the woods. The
Wicked Witch hated his love, and she cast spells upon the man that caused him injury, so that one by one his limbs needed
to be replaced with artificial ones, made of tin. At first it seemed an advantage, for his metal frame allowed him to
work nearly as powerfully as a machine. With a heart of love and arms that never tired, he seemed sure to win...
"I thought I had beaten the Wicked Witch then, and I worked harder than
ever; but I little knew how cruel my enemy could be. She thought of a new way to kill my love for the beautiful Munchkin
maiden, and made my axe slip again, so that it cut right through my body, splitting it into two halves. Once more the
tinner came to my help and made me a body of tin. Fastening my tin arms and legs and head to it, by means of joints,
so that I could move around as well as ever. But Alas! I now had no heart, so that I lost all my love for the
Munchkin girl, and did not care whether I married her or not...
"My body shone so rightly in the sun that I felt very proud of it and it did
not matter now if my axe slipped, for it could not cut me. There was only one danger- that my joints would rust; but
I kept an oil-can in the cottage and took care to oil myself whenever I needed it. However, there came a day when I
forgot to do this, and, being caught in a rainstorm, before I had thought of the danger, my joints had rusted, and I was left
to stand in the woods until you came to help me.
"It was a terrible thing to undergo, but during the year I stood there I had
time to think that the greatest loss I had known was the loss of my heart. While I was in love I was the happiest man
on earth; but no one can love who has not a heart, and so I am resolved to ask Oz to give me one. If he does, I
will go back to the Munchkin maiden and marry her."
But Dorothy and the Scarecrow had been greatly interested in the story of the
Tin Woodman, and now they knew why he was so anxious to get a new heart. "All the same," said the Scarecrow, "I shall
ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool whould not know what to do with a heart if he had one."
"I shall take the heart," returned the Tin Woodman; "for brains do not
make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world."
(L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
and J. Eldredge, Waking the Dead)