In Greek Mythology, Midas was described as a wealthy but effeminate king of Phrygia. Midas was described as the son of Gordius (according to some versions by Cybele). In some versions, Midas wealth was alluded to in a story connected with his childhood, for it was said that while yet a child, ants used to carry grains of wheat into his mouth to indicate that one day he should be the richest of all mortals.
According to some versions, when Dionysus, god of wine, was leading his army into India, his adviser and instructor Silenus wandered astray and came to King Midas, who entertained him generously, and gave him a guide to help him find Dionysus. (In some versions, it was described that Midas captured Silenus by mixing wine to the waters of a spring called the Spring of Midas.)
Because of this favor, Dionysus gave Midas the privilege of asking for whatever he wanted. Midas then asked that whatever he touched should become gold.
Midas was particularly excited with his new power and started turning trees and rocks into gold, on his way back home. When he reached his palace, he asked his servants to prepare a grand feast, but to his despair, he soon realized that the food he touched also turned into gold and would soon die of starvation.
|Midas with his daughter
Even his daughter turned into gold when she greeted her father. Midas, realising that his wish was actually foolish, prayed to Dionysus, who told him to wash in the river Pactolus; everything he would place in the river after that would also turn back to normal. Midas went straight to the river and felt his powers leave him and flow into the waters. In fact, the sands of the river turned gold, explaining the rich minerals that were found in the river by the ancient inhabitants of the area. Midas, relieved of his bane, decided to deny all riches and retreated to the countryside and became a follower of the god Pan.
According to Greek legend, music contest between Apollo and Pan (Apollo's lyre and Pan's reeds), and the mountain god Tmolus who decided in favor of Apollo. All approved Tmolus' judgement, but Midas called it unjust, and then Apollo punished him in that he would wear the ears of an ass.
|God Apollo and Midas
Midas, who after suffering such a disgrace was quite concerned about concealing his condition, started to wear a purple turban to cover his new ears. But the slave who trimmed his hair discovered his master's new anatomy; and since he was eager to tell it out, but all the same he did not dare to reveal the embarrassing secret, he dug a hole in the ground and into it he whispered about his master's ears. Then he filled up the hole again, covering the evidence of his voice. But whispering reeds grew up in the spot, and when they came to their full size, they betrayed to the wind the truth about Midas' ears, making it known to the whole world.
Midas is said to have died, after drinking the blood of a bull, at the time of a Cimmerian invasion of Phrygia.