Once upon a time there lived the king of Phrygia who ruled over his people from a luxurious castle encircled by a stunning rose garden. Many of us know this king as the man with the golden touch, but his real name was Midas. Despite his abundant wealth, Midas thought that his greatest happiness was provided by gold; however, soon enough he learned the danger of his uncontrollable love for wealth. One day, some Phrygian peasants found a drunken old man in the king’s rose garden and brought him to their king.
Midas recognized the man immediately: it was Dionysus’ wisest of teachers, the satyr Silenus. Instead of punishing Silenus for entering his sacred rose garden, he invited him into his castle for ten days. On the eleventh day, Midas took Silenus back to his master, Dionysus, who, in appreciation for Midas’ hospitality, granted Midas one wish. Without a second of thought, he told the god, “My only wish is for gold. I wish all that I touched would turn to gold.’ Dionysus warned the king to think well about his wish, but Midas was too blinded by his love for gold. Dionysus granted his wish and promised the king that from that the next day, everything he touched would turn into gold.
The next day, before having breakfast, he took a rose between his hands to smell its fragrant scent. To his horror, when he touched the rose, it turned into solid gold. “I will have to smell the beautiful scent of my roses without touching them I suppose,” he thought in disappointment. Without even thinking about what had just happened, he picked up a grape but yet again it turned into gold! The same happened with a slice of bread and a glass of water. Suddenly, he started to sense fear for this wish only brought him grief and misery. Because of his greed, he would starve himself to death. Tears filled his eyes and at that moment, his beloved daughter entered the room. Yet again, without thinking Midas hugged his daughter for comfort, and to his horror, she turned into a golden statue! Heartbroken and fearful for his actions, he prayed to Dionysus to take this curse from him.
The god of wine heard Midas’ request and felt sorry for him. He told Midas that in order to get rid of his cursed golden touch, he would have to bathe in the water of Pactolus. Midas obeyed Dionysus’ order and frantically ran to the river. As he bathed, small golden pellets floated past him, but Midas no longer cared for these pieces of metal. He scrubbed and prayed to the gods to forgive him for his greed, and soon enough his clothing became fabric again, and his shoes turned in to soft leather. When he returned home, everything Midas had turned into the cursed metal returned to it normal state. Midas hugged his daughter in pure love and joy and promised to spend more time with her. From that day on, this once wealthy yet greedy king learned the value of appreciation and began to thank the gods for the most valuable asset in the universe: his family.