Posts Tagged ‘Dionysus’
Young Midas even as the heir apparent loved wealth. The idea of making wealth make more wealth appealed to his rational mind. Anticipating all that wealth coming to him one day he made all the vassals of his father give him unlimited credit. They willingly obliged him and waited for the young prince come to the throne. Meanwhile Prince Midas made every servant in the palace work round the clock. His rational mind taught him a crust of bread chewed is better than a goblet of wine promised tomorrow. But hope gave the promise more appealing than bread that once eaten was nothing more than dung. Whenever they approached him for back wages he was sure to hint that he as a king would spread his hand out,’My liberality shall know no bounds. You want to enjoy my largesse?’ Of course he did not pay them for long.
One day Silenus called on him. He was a Satyr. He had come through a wild tempestuous cold night. He was so beat and he shivered as he sought his aid. Prince Midas looked at the ugly mug and said,’Hello, Paragon of Beauty, warm yourself by the fire. You look almost on your last legs.’ There was a blazing fire and the prince sent for viands and warm wine, of course on credit, and he set it before him. He said, ‘Eat and take ease.’ The Satyr a friend of god Dionysus ate and drank and was fortified. He asked why the prince was lost in thoughts. The host said,’fire is free but think how much firewood need for it? The royal forests are almost cut to keep the hearth warm.’ The guest cackled giving a toothless smile. Puckering his hideous face the Satyr suggested,’I could be of help.’
Suddenly he hit upon a happy thought. ‘Please give me this boon: whatever I touch must be turned to gold.’
Silenus clapped his hands in joy, ‘Done!’ As soon as I stand on the road to Olympus you shall receive the boon you have asked.’
Having taken ease Silenus went off.
Prince Midas felt a cold coming and he took to bed. He told his wife to sleep in the baby room.
Next morning he sat up with a sever sneeze and took his kerchief to wipe the snot. To his horror the kerchief was shining! And the snot was all gold! Such gobs of gold was pure and it came from within! With a laugh he stared at the kerchief and deposited his snot in the treasury. His rational mind knew it was not for anyone to lay hands on. Was it not 24 kt gold? He was hawk-eyed to keep his wealth to himself. Nothing of his was to be thrown away.
By the time he was cured of cold his treasury was burst to full.
A fortnight later the King died and the servants whispered it was due to some kind of flu that came with the arrival of the Satyr. Prince Midas exulted when he was told he should be crowned without delay. Soon after his private coronation his first royal order was to give a state funeral to the dead king. Before the priests and the council he made a show of sorrow and kissed his dead father. He stared at the corpse. It was 24 carat gold, every ounce of his sire’s lifeless body.
He ordered it to be placed in his treasury room. He excused,’I intend to worship him each day before I hold the council. His presence shall lead us to good governance.
Rest of the day was the hardest. He dared not accept the hand of his Queen. She cried a little and accused he had already found a mistress whose bed warmed him more than their marriage bed.
A month later’ when he was stretched in his bed his Queen brought the baby daughter and laid by his side. Shedding tears she murmured that she was going to make a hole in the Aegean Sea.
The King didn’t hear her leave.
Later King Midas got up,- and he was still drowsy, took the baby in order to put her back in the crib. To his horror saw her turning into a lump of gold!
Midas frantically sought out Dionysus and begged him to remove the spell. Dionysus told Midas how he could get rid of the gift. Midas washed his ‘golden touch’ away in the river Pactolus. Even now the soil along the riverbank has a golden gleam.
When he went back to his palace he knew he was cured off his gold fever. He walked with a happy tune to his chamber and he shrieked. The treasury was stinking!Wading through putrid rags stuffed in pigeon holes was was horrible. He glanced at his dead baby and father! Oh horror of horrors the cadavers rotted and oozed some horrible green bile that was corroding the iron stand on which the bier stood. Standing there unable to move and overcome with the pestilential air about him he knew the gold had left its deadly touch on him. He took to bed and died a horrible death, silently and unattended.
There is a statue erected by his subjects to perpetuate his memory. Only what is not known is the one ton of gold released from the royal treasury to make the statue went into the pocket of the Royal Chamberlain who paid out of it a handful of drachma to the sculptor. He was formerly an ironmonger who from the slag-heap laying in his yard cobbled up a life-statue of his royal master. It is coated with with fools gold to fool the eye. So far no one has found the difference.