The Cold Winter Witch
Once upon a time there was a rabbit who wandered into a cold winter witch's lair.
'What are you doing in my domain?' the witch asked cruelly, her face pale as death, her eyes like ice, and her hair—cold white—made of frozen points.
The rabbit was very scared, and did not answer the witch because he was trembling so fiercely that his lips could not form words.
'No matter your response,' said the witch, 'for your punishment would be the same whether you answer or no. You shall be frozen for a thousand years, and after that disintegrate into dust.'
Now, the rabbit was still very afraid, but all the same he summoned up the greatest courage he had within him and spoke at last. 'Would my heart stop beating when I am frozen?,' he asked.
The witch narrowed her icy gaze, and replied, 'What does it matter?'
'It matters,' he said with even more courage. 'Perhaps if you were to feel the beating of my heart you would realize just how much it matters to me.'
'I have no inclinations to pet rabbits,' the witch said.
The rabbit had grown daring, filled with blooming courage, though her touch could mean his doom all the same. Though he did not know the source, there was within him something in his beating heart that told him to persist.
'I ask as my last request,' he said.
Perhaps it was curiosity, perhaps it was a cruel intention to feel the heartbeat and stop it all the same; whatever the reason, the hand of the cold winter witch shot out and placed itself against the rabbit's beating heart.
Then suddenly, she changed.
Her skin grew warm and dark, her hair swirled down from its icy points, her stature shrank, and she smiled. Bending down, she kissed the little rabbit on his nose and told him to go free. And what could cause such sudden change? Ah, well, she had once been cursed to be cold and cruel, a thing that could only be broken by a heart. Thus, she had eschewed all acts of love in want of the power her curse offered. And while she was never tempted by an offer to share another's heart, a creature willing to give his away was a different matter entirely.