Midas and the Golden Wish
King Midas was a very wealthy man, he had everything he wanted. But his most valuable possession was his beloved daughter, Philomena. As well as being the youngest child she was also the loveliest. Her eyes were darkest brown, her hair was so silky that it never got tangled and her skin was equally silky. When she danced she was like a butterfly and when she sang she was like a nightingale. Just her smile alone made everyone happy. The meaning of her name was I am loved
One day, early in the morning Philomena suddenly appeared in Midas’s bedroom. “Farther there is a strange man at the gates.” So Midas grabbed Philomena’s hand and took her to the gate. In front of them stood Silenus, the teacher of the god Dionysus. Feeling honoured by his visit Midas welcomed him, telling him how honoured he was to have him visiting and offered him to come and rest from his long journey.
As soon as they got in Midas ordered his servants to get the finest wine and to prepare a huge banquet for the very important guest. There were musicians and dancers but the best of all was Philomena herself. It was as if a butterfly was fluttering past or a nightingale was singing. Finally the gently splashing of the fountain gently made him sleep.
Early the next morning, Silenus was ready to set off on his way but before he went he went to see King Midas. “I cannot leave without giving you a gift, so I give you one wish.” Everything he had ever wanted was flowing through his head, he didn’t know what to say. Greed filled his head but what he wanted was beyond what any man should be able to ask for. So he decided to lie to Silenus and said that there was nothing he wished for. As he left Silenus told him to remember his gift.
Later that day Midas was strolling in the forest, sheltering from the bright sun. Looking up at the sun and then down at the floor, he realised it was as if everything the sun touched turned to gold. So he thought about this for a while and then said in wonder “everything the sun touches seems to turn to gold oh how I wish I had such power.”
Back at the castle he asked his servant to get him a cup of water, so he came back with water in a bronze cup. But as soon as he touched it, it turned instantly into gold. In amazement he stared, his wish had come true. The thought of the wealth that this would bring. He danced, he ran and touched everything he saw, crying “I’ll be rich, I’ll be rich!”
Suddenly Philomena came running in and asked her farther what this was all about. After kneeling down he touched her shoulder and started to explain about his wish. But it was not until the end that he realised Philomena was not talking, she too had turned to gold. Her hair was no longer silky but it felt like thorns. In despair Midas cried out.
Outside the palace king Midas could be seen weeping over the golden body of Philomena. Up on mount Olympus Dionysus saw Midas’s despair and took pity on him. So he told him to bathe in the river Pactolus, in the hope that I would bring his daughter back he pulled himself to the river. The waters took away his terrible gift and for ever after the sands on the river bed glittered with gold. When he reached the palace he saw Philomena laughing and smiling. The broad smile on her face took away all his sadness.
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