Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Between the Lines: The Tin Woodman

A while back, we walked down the Yellow Brick Road with two characters from L. Frank Baum's beloved Oz books, Dorothy Gale and the Scarecrow. Today, I'm lucky enough to have one of their friends and companions, the Tin Woodman. Let's hear what he's got to say.

Greg:  Welcome, please make yourself at home. There's one thing I've always wanted to know about you. Were you always made of tin?

Tin Woodman:  Oh no. I was once a flesh and blood man. My name was Nick Chopper. I was happy to spend my days chopping wood in the forest and coming home in the evening to the girl I loved.

Greg:  I see. So, what happened?

Tin Woodman:  Well, you see, at the time, there were some in Oz who could not stand to see anyone happy and in love. One of these was the Wicked Witch of the East. She did not like it at all. She decided to put an end to our happiness.

One day when I was out in the forest chopping wood, she laid an enchantment upon my axe. With the very next swing, I chopped my arm clean off.

Greg:  Ugh, how awful. What did you do?

Tin Woodman:  I was pretty put out, I can tell you. I rushed right to the tinsmith, and he staunched the bleeding and made me a wonderful arm of tin to replace the one I'd lost. I was so happy--well, at least as happy as you can be when you've chopped one of your arms off. What I mean is, it could have been worse. I didn't realize that the worst was yet to come.

I probably shouldn't have, but the next day I went back out into the forest to chop wood. It never occurred to me that my axe was enchanted. I thought I was just really clumsy. I began to chop wood again, and what do you think happened?

Greg:  Let me guess, you had another accident?

Tin Woodman:  I'll say. On the first swing, I chopped off my other arm. I was really embarrassed when I had to go to the tinsmith for an arm for the second day in a row. But, the tinsmith got right to work and made me another arm. Once again I went home thinking that I was still in pretty good shape.

On the third day, I figured, "What could happen?", so I set out again to chop wood. Well, I cut one of my legs off! In fact, for thee next two weeks I managed to chop myself to bits, but my axe never touched any wood, not so much as a toothpick.  

Greg:  You mean the tinsmith replaced your whole body with tin parts?

Tin Woodman:  Yes, that's right. Oh, well he didn't replace everything, actually. He forgot one very important thing--my heart. Without a heart, I was unable to feel any love for my former sweetheart.

Greg:  What did you do after that?

Tin Woodman:  I kept doing what I do best, chopping wood. I lived alone in a small house in the forest. Then one day, I was out cutting wood when it began to rain. There I was, rusted up good and solid. I could not move at all.

That's when I met Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. We had a marvelous adventure, although it was rather scary at times--just ask the Cowardly Lion. The Wizard did give me a rather pretty heart, so I made out all right in the end. After that, I became the ruler of the Winkie Country. 

Greg:  I see. Well, that sounds wonderful. It's been really nice talking with you. Thank you for spending some time with us. Stay out of the rain--I'd hate to see you rust any more.

Tin Woodman:  No fear! When I was ruler of the Winkies I had myself nickel plated. I won't ever rust now! Oh my, is that the time? I really have to get moving, there's so much to do. Chop, chop!

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