A-Z: General definitions: Midas


Midas, the son of Gordius, was King of Phrygia. He returned Silenus to Dionysus and the god granted him a wish in gratitude. Midas wished that everything he touched should become gold. This was wonderful until he realised that it also applied to food and drink. He begged Dionysus to remove the ability, and was told to wash in the River Pactolus, whose sand has been coloured golden ever since. Midas acted foolishly again when he angered Apollo by saying Pan was the better musician, so Apollo gave him ass' ears. Midas hid these, but his barber saw them. Unable to keep the secret, the barber dug a hole and whispered the truth into it. Reeds grew there, and still 'whisper' in the wind, 'Midas has ass' ears'.

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