127. Midas and his golden touch

Once upon a time, Bacchus along with his retinue of Satyrs and Bacchanals, was travelling from Thrace to Phyrgia. During the journey, Silenus, his foster-father and teacher, got separated from the group. The Phyrgian folk, found a staggering Silenus weak with wine and age, wandering in the rose gardens of King Midas of Phyrgia. Binding Silenus in garlands, they took him to Midas, who recognized Silenus as his old time friend, since earlier, the Thracian Orpheus and the Cecropian Eumolpus, had shown Midas, all the Bacchic rites.

For ten days, Midas and Silenus celebrated a Bacchic festival, and on the eleventh day, they traveled to the Lydian lands, where Midas delivered Silenus under the care of Bacchus. Delighted, the divine Bacchus allowed Midas to ask any reward. The Berecynthian hero Midas made a dull-witted decision, by asking that may all that he touched, be at once turn to yellow gold. With grief, Bacchus granted this regrettable request, as it would harm Midas, but the slow-thinking Midas dreaming extreme wealth, was joyous.

To test the trueness of Bacchus’ word, Midas picked a twig and it instantly turned to gold. Whatever he touched, it turned to shining gold. He was rejoicing when he began to eat, but as soon as he touched the food, it became solid gold. He wanted to drink but the wine became liquid gold. Neither could he eat nor drink. All his gold, failed to quieten his gnawing stomach, or wet his parched throat.

Lifting his arms to heaven, he tearfully prayed to be released from his golden touch. Bacchus heard the prayer and told Midas, to approach the stream flowing beside the town of Sardis, and upwardly trace its origin, where if he plunged his head and body in its snowy foam, then at once, his golden touch shall be removed. Midas did as instructed and was relieved of his golden touch. However, the stream was tinged with gold and wherever the river flowed, the surrounding fields were colored with gold.

~0~
Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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