King Midas’ Gold
An ancient Greek myth

Midas was the king of Phrygia. He was a king with not much wit, who rather enjoyed life and spent his time at parties and banquets.
One day Dionysus, the god of wine, passed through the kingdom in a procession. He came with a joyful troupe who was laughing, singing and planting grapevines along their path. Then the procession went away. In its aftermath, a drunk old man laying down at the foot of a stump, was found. It was Silene, Dionysus’ eternal companion.
Midas took him to his palace, gave him the most beautiful and softest bed to sleep in and – when he woke up – held ten days of celebrations and festivities in his honour.
When Dionysus came to seek his companion, he was so happy to see how well Midas had cared for him that he decided to reward him.
“Ask me whatever you want”, he told him, “and I will grant your wish!”
Midas was hardly renowned for his intelligence. His answer was as quick as it was thoughtless.
“Let everything I touch change into gold!” An idiotic smile lit up his face.
“Let it be done according to your wish!”, Dionysus answered with a sigh.
Then, like a playful child, Midas touched everything within his reach. Tables, chairs, beds…every single thing changed into fine gold to his greatest delight. He picked an olive branch, it turned into a golden branch. He gathered a lump of earth, it became a shiny gold brick.
Alas, he should have thought twice before speaking.
In the evening he grew a bit tired of this little game and felt like having something to eat. However when his servants brought him his meal, the food changed into gold as soon as he brought it to his mouth. He was thirsty but the water in the jug became the precious metal as well.
Terrified, he begged for Dionysus’ mercy. He had understood that the gift of the god was leading him to certain death. Dionysus agreed to withdraw this cumbersome favour, hoping that the experience would be a lesson.
“Go delve at the source of the Pactole river and you will lose this fateful power”, he said.
Midas didn’t wait a second longer. Relieved, he was finally able to drink and eat. However it is thought that this is the reason why the Pactole river contains gold nuggets since that day.