Fairy Tales

King Midas

King Midas Story There once was a king named Midas, who ruled a ­magical land of roses and sunshine. King Midas was rich beyond imagination, but he was also very selfish and foolish.

King Midas liked to spend his days in the basement of his castle where he kept his gold. Every day he locked himself in the vault so he could count his money without anybody bothering him. There was nothing that King Midas would rather do than count his riches. His gold made him feel important. He loved to surround himself with it.

Each morning, at the crack of dawn, King Midas headed straight to the vault. He stayed with his gold until he went to sleep at night. And even then he dreamed of how to get even more gold.

King Midas had a beautiful daughter named Marygold. She was very different from her father. Marygold did not pay any attention to gold, and she was not at all selfish.

Marygold liked to spend her days outdoors. Day after day, Marygold walked happily among the roses in the garden. It was her favorite place. She loved taking care of all the beautiful ­flowers and watering them so they would grow to be even taller than she was. There was nothing Marygold liked better than smelling the sweet scent of the roses and watching the pretty butterflies as they fluttered about. One morning, Marygold said to her father, “Why don’t you join me in the garden today? Come outside to see what a lovely place I’ve created in the sunshine.”

“Oh no, Marygold,” King Midas replied. “I would never enjoy that knowing there is so much gold to count. I really must go down to the vault right away.”

King Midas disappeared down the long, winding staircase that led to the basement. This saddened Marygold. She was certain that her father would really enjoy her flowers, ­especially the roses, if he ever saw them in full bloom. Later that day, as King Midas busily counted his gold in the vault, a mysterious stranger appeared.

“Good afternoon, Your Majesty,” said the stranger to King Midas.

“How did you get in here?” asked King Midas, looking up at the locked door.

“Well,” said the stranger, “I have some magical powers.”The stranger gazed around the room at all the piles of gold. Then he said, “My, you certainly have a lot of gold.”

“Yes,” said King Midas proudly, rolling a gold coin around in his hand. “Gold is the most wonderful thing in the world. And I could always use some more. I like to rise early in the morning and count a stack before breakfast. Then I like to count another stack before lunch. And before I go to bed I count some more. It is really a wonderful way to spend your days.”

“I could give you the power to turn all that you touch into gold,” said the stranger. “Would you like that?”

“Everything I touch will turn to gold?”

“Yes,” the stranger replied.

Greedy Midas could not believe his ears! “Yes! Yes! I would like that very much indeed,” King Midas excitedly said to the mysterious stranger.

“Very well,” said the stranger. “After the next sunrise, anything you touch will turn to gold.”

Midas looked around the room with a wide smile. Soon he would have even more money to count! When he looked back to the stranger, he was gone.

Midas did not care where the stranger went, or how he got into the room. All he could think about was what he would turn to gold.

King Midas spent that night wide awake, staring through a window in the castle and thinking how the castle would look magnificent when everything in it was gold.

When the dawn’s light finally appeared, King Midas reached to push away the ­curtain, and it turned into solid gold! Then King Midas grabbed his chair, and it turned to gold, too! King Midas grew very excited with his new magical power.

He ran from room to room touching everything he could reach — tables, mirrors, ­candlesticks, paintings, and doors. Just like the mysterious stranger had promised, everything turned to gold.

“I have the magical touch of gold!” shouted King Midas. “I will be the richest man on earth. No one will ever have as much gold as me.” King Midas could not imagine a better gift. Then King Midas rushed from his castle into the morning sunshine. He ran directly into Marygold’s garden. He knew that this was his daughter’s favorite place. Midas saw many beautiful flowers. He laid his hands on one of the loveliest roses, and it turned from scarlet red to gold.

“How delighted Marygold will be,” Midas said to himself, “when she finds I have turned all her flowers into precious gold.” Soon the king’s stomach began to rumble. Changing things to gold had made him very hungry. Midas returned to the castle and sat down at his table. “Servant, bring me my breakfast,” he ordered.

Soon a servant brought plates piled high with the freshest fruit, the warmest bread, and the tastiest cheese. Normally, King Midas began his breakfast with a yummy fresh strawberry. Today he carefully chose the juiciest one. “Ah, look at this bright red strawberry,” said King Midas, as he reached toward the plate. “Such a delicious beginning to an already wonderful day.”

But as soon as he touched it, the strawberry changed to gold. Midas was hungry, but he could not eat. King Midas grabbed a goblet of water and raised it to his lips, but the water turned to gold, too!

Midas became dizzy with thirst and hunger. He called to his servants, “Bring me something to eat! I’m so thirsty and hungry!” But everything they brought him turned to gold when he touched it.

Suddenly, Marygold came into the room, holding a gold rose. She sat at the table with her father and began to cry.

“Look at this poor rose,” Marygold sobbed to her father.

“It was the loveliest one in the garden! How could this have happened to it?”

“I made it happen, Marygold,” answered King Midas. “I know that the garden is your favorite place. I thought you would like to see your flowers turned into beautiful and valuable pieces of gold.”

“My roses are ruined!” exclaimed Marygold. “They no longer smell sweet, they no longer feel like velvet, and they no longer make the butterflies dance. The roses might be gold, but they are no longer valuable to me. They are worthless!”

Like all fathers, King Midas hated to see his daughter unhappy. He wanted to make Marygold feel better, and, without thinking, he rushed over to give her a comforting hug. As soon as King Midas touched her, Marygold turned into solid gold! King Midas was shocked at what he had done to Marygold. He quickly ran from the golden statue. He now knew his wish to turn all that he touched to gold had been a curse, not a blessing. If only he could turn back time, then he could get his beautiful daughter back.

King Midas sat down on the floor. How could he have been so greedy? He picked up the ­golden rose that Marygold had dropped.

He began to cry.Just then, the mysterious stranger returned and asked, “Aren’t you pleased with all your gold, King Midas?”

“I was very foolish,” King Midas answered. “I don’t care about gold anymore.

I just want Marygold again. Please save her, and you can have all my gold.”

“I do not want your gold, King Midas,” the stranger said. “I just wanted to teach you a lesson. To get your daughter back, simply go to the river beyond the rose garden. Dive into its waters and bring back enough water to sprinkle over the things you have turned to gold. They will all return to normal.”

At once King Midas called out to all the servants in the castle. “Gather every pail, bucket, bowl, and pitcher you can find,” he shouted. “Then follow me to the river beyond the rose garden! I need your help to change Marygold and all the flowers back to normal.” Without another word, Midas and the servants ran to the river’s edge.

Midas leaped into the cold, rushing water of the river, and it instantly began to turn golden yellow. He and his servants quickly filled their pails and bowls before all the water completely changed to gold.

Just like the mysterious stranger told him to do, King Midas splashed water over Marygold. She instantly turned back into ­herself. King Midas’ heart filled with joy.

“Marygold,” he said, hugging her. “You are so much more important than gold.”

King Midas and Marygold ran straight to the dining hall and splashed water over every golden object.

“Father, what about my flowers?” Marygold asked, looking sad.

“Don’t worry,” King Midas said. “We have plenty of water to turn them back to normal, too.”

Together, he and Marygold went outside and changed all the golden flowers back into beautiful red roses. As the last one was turned back into a red rose, Marygold said, “Thank you, Father, for giving me back my flowers.”

“I promise never to spend any more beautiful days counting my gold,” King Midas said, giving Marygold another hug.

Marygold picked a beautiful red rose and handed it to her father. The

mysterious stranger had taught Midas that there are more important things in life than gold.From that day on, King Midas was happier than he had ever been before. He no longer spent his days locked away in the vault. Instead, he spent time with Marygold in the garden.

Now Midas cared little for gold and riches. He saw the true beauty of flowers, butterflies, and his most valuable treasure, Marygold. The only gold that King Midas cared for now was the golden sunshine.

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