Midas (mythology)

   In Greek mythology, Midas was a king of Phrygia. He was the son of Gordius, the same who tied the Gordian Knot, and of Cybele. Dionysus, the god, being under obligations, offered to grant Midas any request he might ask. Midas in his greed requested that whatever he touched might turn to gold. The request was grant­ed. Midas found, however, that, when he undertook to drink, a cataract of gold poured from a golden cup. If he undertook to eat he found a lump of gold in his mouth. Even his clothing turned into golden armor. In his distress he begged the god to take back his gift. Dionysus told him to bathe in the river Pactolus. This he did. The sands of the river were celebrated ever afterwards for shining gold, and became the source of Croesus' wealth.
The Punishment of Midas
   Midas was called upon to decide whether the pipes of Pan or Apollo were the sweet­est. He was unwise enough to decide the contest in favor of Pan; whereupon Apollo, as a punishment, gave Midas a pair of ass's ears. These he concealed from even his wife. His barber discovered the fact, and, being unable to keep a secret entirely to himself, ran and whispered it into a hole in the ground. A clump of reeds sprang up and whispered the secret abroad to the winds. The winds told it every­where. Nathaniel Hawthorne has related the story of Midas in his Wonder Book under the title of The Golden Touch.