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The Golden Touch

King Midas, whose name was later synonymous with wealthy, actually gained little from his prospect for riches.

Midas was King of Phrygia, in what is modern-day Turkey. The palace was surrounded by vast rose gardens, in which Silenus (one of the satyrs of Dionysus) was found. He was tied in ropes of roses, and brought to Midas. Midas welcomed him and enjoyed his company for ten days.

Then, Silenus led Midas back to Dionysus, who was extremely happy to have him back. He offered Midas anything he wanted, and Midas promptly wished for the "golden touch" (simply turning everything he touched into solid gold).

After having a meal, Midas realized that he'd never be able to feed himself, for everything he lifted to his mouth was solid metal. He quickly asked Dionysus to take his wish back, but he was told washing in the river Pactolus would undo the wish.

Apollo vs. Pan

After this episode, Midas also served as a judge in the musical contest between the god Apollo and the half-goat/half-man Pan. After favoring Pan's playing, Apollo turned Midas's ears to those of an ass. He was able to conceal these ears to all but his barber, who rid the secret by whispering it into a self-dug whole. He then filled it in, but reeds grew over the spot and repeated the secret for all to know.

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