Have A Heart, Nick

The story of The Wizard Of Oz that is shown on television is an adaptation of a series of 14 books written by L. Frank Baum between 1900 and 1920. Book number 12 is called The Tin Woodman Of Oz. It tells the story of the character we call The Tinman.

Nick Chopper was a wood chopper. He and a Munchkin girl named Nimmie Amee fell in love and wanted to get married. But there was a problem … Nimmie was the personal servant of The Wicked Witch Of The East. The Witch didn’t want to lose her servant, and she didn’t much care for love, so she put a spell on Nick Chopper’s axe.

The spell caused the ax to cut off Nick Chopper’s arm. But in Oz nobody dies, so it didn’t kill Nick. He went to the tinsmith and had a new arm made from tin. The ax then cut off all of Nick’s other limbs and even his head, but the tinsmith always made new tin limbs for him and a tin neck to hold his head back on. Finally, the ax cut Nick’s torso. The tinsmith made a torso out of tin, but did not include within it a heart.

All was well for awhile. The Tin Woodman, as he was now called, was very productive, because his tin limbs never got tired. The Munchkin maiden was thrilled with all the great things about a tin man (she lists a bunch of them in the book, such as he could dance for hours and not get tired). She still wanted to marry him and even said “I shall take pride in being the wife of the only tin woodman in the world.”

Did The Tin Woodman marry Nimmie? In his own words, he says “No, 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.”

Much can be accomplished without a heart. We might be more productive and find new ways to give ourselves what we think we want. But without a heart we miss out on the greater experiences of life. We may not feel pain – true – but we wouldn’t feel joy either. And the biggest consequence is that we wouldn’t be able to love.

Jesus stated that loving with all our hearts is the greatest commandment. A biblical proverb says “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” I’m sure that even the Wizard of Oz would agree.


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