Originally a Munchkin woodman named Nick Chopper, his courtship of a beautiful young girl named Nimmie Amee angered the mean old woman for whom she kept house. So the woman went to the Wicked Witch of the East, made a gift to her of livestock, and begged her help keep Nimmie from going off with Nick.
The WWE put a curse on Nick's axe, and as he worked to build a wedding house for Nimmie, his axe attacked and maimed him. He was given prosthetics by his tinsmith neighbor, Ku-Klip, and resumed his work. Each time the axe attacked him, it further destroyed his body, until nothing remained of his flesh.
Believing that Nimmie could not love him anymore, and that he could not be any kind of man for her without a heart beating in his chest, he ceased calling on her and lived alone in the unfurnished house he had built. One day he allowed himself to remain outside working during a rainstorm and rusted in place. He remained there for months until Dorothy and the Scarecrow discovered him.
Upon learning his story, the two offered the Woodman the chance to accompany them to the City of Emeralds where he could ask the wizard for a heart.
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