Once upon a time … there lived a young queen who was as beautiful as she was cruel. So powerful a witch was she that she could sink her hands into the chest of any man and tear his heart out and hold it, still pulsing and trembling, in her palm. If she chose to kill him, she would crush his heart as easily as though it was made of air. Should she choose to let him live, she would take his heart home and add it to her collection, hidden away in the depth of her stone castle. The people of her kingdom feared the young queen, yet what they did not know, was how lonely their queen was all alone in her cold castle. Her mother and her father had died many years ago and she had had no one to love her ever since. She held out hope that one day she might find true love, but no matter how hard she wished for love, the queen remained alone. So she grew still and cold and hardened herself like the ponds and the rivers in winter.
And legend spoke of a swan, the one chosen to free the people of the evil queen’s rule … a savior with a heart as golden as her hair. Finally, the girl who had been born to become the swan, came of age, and she set out on her quest to defeat the queen. Yet when the swan reached the stone castle, she found the queen frozen on her throne. Disenchanted and unloved, the powerful witch had not been powerful enough to resist her own darkness. Now she was trapped in a shell of ice where not even time could do her any harm. Yet when the swan laid eyes on the beautiful queen, her heart fluttered like a bird and she leaned down and kissed the queen. Like tears, the hard shell melted away. When the queen realized that she was free, she laughed and kissed the swan. The color returned to her cheeks and the blood to her heart. From that day on, she never again felt lonely. For she had learned that all the hearts she needed were just two … her own, and the heart of the swan.