The Golden Touch
Once there was a King. His name was Midas.
Midas loved gold. He did not want to buy things with his gold. He wanted to have the gold; he wanted to look at the gold every day.
There was a house made of stone. He put every bit of gold in this house. There were many boxes in the house. He put the gold in the boxes. Midas went to the stone house every day. He opened every box and looked at the gold. He put his hands in the gold: he took the gold up in his hands.
"Gold! Gold!" he said, "Oh, I love gold. I do love gold. I do not want to buy things with my gold. I want to have my gold. I love gold!"
Midas had a beautiful garden. There were many beautiful flowers and trees in it. And there were beautiful birds in the trees. Midas loved flowers and birds and trees. But he loved gold more than flowers or birds or trees. He said, "I can buy flowers and gardens with my gold. I do love gold!"
Midas had one child-a beautiful little girl. The little girl loved the garden and the birds and the flowers; and Midas loved his child. Men said, " Midas loves his beautiful little girl. He loves his beautiful garden and his beautiful flowers. But he loves gold more than his child; he loves gold more than beauty."
There was a god called Dionysius. Dionysius was the god of Flowers and of Gardens.
Dionysius lived on a great hill with the other gods, but he sometimes came down to see men's flowers and gardens.
When Dionysius came into a garden all the flowers opened. He went to all the gardens, opening the flowers and making everything beautiful. One day Dionysius came to the garden of Kino, Midas.
The little girl was in the garden. She saw Dionysius. "Who are you?" She cried. "What are you doing in my father's garden?"
"I am Dionysius," said the God. "I have come to open the flowers and make your garden beautiful."
Then the little girl was very glad. She was glad to see Dionysius.
The little girl took the hand of Dionysius. She said, " Come with me. I will help you to open the flowers. Show me how to open the flowers in my garden. "
Then Dionysius went with the little girl and showed her how to open the flowers.
At noon the little girl went into the house.
The day was hot.
Dionysius sat down at the foot of a tree. He fell asleep. Dionysius was sleeping at the foot of a tree in the King's garden.
He slept; the King's servants came to the garden.
Then one of the servants saw Dionysius sleeping at the foot of a tree. He said, "Who is this man? He has come to take the flowers! But the day was hot, and he fell asleep, and we should catch him."
Then he went and called another servant. Then all the other servants came to the place. They caught Dionysius. They took him to the King.
They said to the King, "This is the man whom we found sleeping in the garden. He came to take your flowers."
Then King Midas asked, "Why did you come to take my flowers? Why did you not ask me for some flowers? I give flowers to all who ask for them. I have given flowers to many poor men."
Dionysius did not answer.
"Do you love flowers?" asked the King.
"Yes," answered Dionysius. "I love flowers; but I have not taken any of your flowers."
" Have you any children?" asked Midas. " Do you want to take any flowers to your children?"
" The flowers are my children," answered Dionysius.
Then King Midas said, "This man may go, and he may take any flowers he wants."
Dionysius said, "O King! you are a good man. You have been good to me. You love flowers, and you love your child. I am a God. I will give you any- thing that you ask. Ask me for anything and I will give it to you."
"Can I ask for anything? " said Midas.
"Yes. Do you want more flowers? -- or more children?"
"Flowers are beautiful," said Midas; 'but gold is more beautiful. I want more gold. I want to change things into gold. If I put my hand on anything, it shall be changed into gold. Give me that."
Then Dionysius said, "You may have what you ask. If you put your hand on anything, it shall be changed into gold."
Midas sat down at a table to write. He touched the table, and the table was changed into gold. It became a golden table. He took his pen. As he touched the pen, it was changed into gold. He wrote; and, as he touched the paper, it was changed into gold. He went to the door and opened it; and the door was changed into gold. He took his hat; as he touched it, the hat was changed into gold. He went into the garden to see the flowers. He saw a beautiful rose. He put out his hand to take it. As he touched it, the rose was changed into gold. He put his hand on a tree and the tree was changed into gold.
Midas wanted to eat.
He went into the hall. He called a servant.
"Bring me food," he said.
The servant brought food. Midas put out his hand to take the food. As he touched the food, it was changed into gold. He could not eat the food.
"Bring me more food," said Midas.
The servant brought more food. Midas touched it, and it was changed into gold. He could not eat it.
Midas drank some water. The water was changed into gold. He could not drink it.
" How shall I eat? How shall I drink?" said Midas. "If I cannot eat and drink, I shall die!"
He stood up. He had eaten nothing. He had drunk nothing.
"I will go into the garden," he said, "I will go and make more golden flowers."
Then the little girl came into the hall.
"Oh, father!" she cried, "our beautiful roses have been killed. Who has killed our roses?"
Midas said, "The roses have been changed to gold, my child, gold is more beautiful than flowers."
The little girl cried.
"Do not cry, my child," said Midas. "Come, we will change some more flowers to gold. We will change all the flowers to gold."
"Oh, father! give me back my flowers," cried the little girl. "Go back to the garden. Change the flowers back."
"Do not cry, little girl," said Midas. He took her in his arms. He put his hand on her head. "Do not cry, my child. Do not cry any more. I will change the gold back into flowers."
She did not cry any more.
"Father loves you," said Midas. "I love you as much as I love gold. Soon you will be a big girl. When you are a big girl, you will love gold as much as I do."
She was not crying.
She said nothing. She could not say anything. As soon as Midas touched her, she was changed into gold.
Midas looked at his child. He saw what he had done. As soon as he saw what he had done he cried out, "Help! Help! Oh, what have I done! I have killed my little girl. Help!"
The servants came running into the hall. They saw what Midas had done. They saw the little girl. She was made of gold.
"We will go away from here. The King is a magician!" they cried. "He changes everything to gold. He has killed his child and changed her to gold. He 'll kill us and change us to gold. We will not work for him any more." Then they ran away.
There was no one in the King's house. Midas sat there, with his dead child.
He went out and changed more things to gold. He made all the ducks and hens gold, and the donkey in the field was golden. Then he went and looked at the cows. He touched one cow and it was changed to gold. "I will make them all golden. I will have nice golden cows." He changed all the cows to gold.
"I shall get no milk," he said. "But the milk becomes gold as soon as I touch it. I do not want any milk."
Soon he came back. He looked at his little girl.
He looked up at the sky.
The sun was going down, changing the sky to gold. Gold! gold!--all gold.
Then Midas went out into the garden and cried.
Dionysius came to Midas as he sat crying in the garden. He stood before him.
"Are you happy now, 0 King?" said the God.
"No," said the King. "I was happy before. I was happy before you came. But now I am very unhappy."
"But you have much gold now. Why are you not happy? No one has as much gold as you have now. You said that nothing was as beautiful as gold."
"I do not want it!" cried Midas. "I do not want gold. I want my little girl back. Give me back my little girl! Give me back my flowers. Take away all this gold and give me back the things which I love."
"Go to the river," said Dionysius. "Jump into the water, and you will be as before. Put water on all the things which you have changed to gold, and they 'll be as before."
Then Dionysius went away. He went up into the sky.
Midas ran down to the river. He jumped into the water. Then he came out of the water. He put his hand on a stone. The stone was not changed to gold.
Then he brought a pot. He filled the pot with water. He ran with the pot full of water, and came to the hall. He threw the water on his little girl. She changed. She opened her eyes.
"Oh!" she cried, "was I asleep?"
She ran into the garden.
" Father," she cried, " you did not change the flowers back. They are all dead and golden. Every flower is dead. Come! Come and give me back my flowers. And, oh! look at the golden cows!"
"Come with me," said Midas, "and we will bring back the flowers."
Then Midas and his little girl ran into the garden with pots full of water from the river. As they ran, they changed everything back. They changed the flowers and the trees and the birds, and the hens and the ducks and the cows. Then they ran into the house and they changed the tables and doors and pen and paper. And they changed Midas' hat.
"Do you not love gold any more?" asked the little girl, as they sat in the hall and ate.
"No," said Midas. "I love the trees and the flowers and the birds-- and you."