Mythology Monday: King Midas Makes A Terrible Mistake

This week, we’re heading back to Greece, for a story that most people have probably heard in one form or another.

So, to start off with, we have this dude named Silenus. Now, Silenus is a satyr, and the foster father of the god of wine, Dionysus. Silenus goes out on a drunken bender one day and winds up in the gardens of Midas, the king of Phrygia.

Now, Midas recognizes Silenus, and decides to do him a solid and hosts him for ten days, pulling out all the stops for his guest. On the eleventh day, Midas then returns Silenus to Dionysus, who is extremely grateful. He is so grateful, in fact, that he decides to offer Midas a boon.

Midas, being the greedy asshole that he is at this point in the story, asks Dionysus to grant him the ability to turn everything he touches into gold.

Dionysus is all like, “You got it, buddy,” and grants him his wish.

Now, this might be a pretty handy ability (pun not intended) for someone to have. That is, if it was something that Midas could turn off.

At first, though, he’s pretty ecstatic about this, and decides to turn all the flowers in his garden into gold. However, he seems to realize that this is a bit of a problem when he tries to eat. See, “everything” here means everything, and that includes all the food that Midas tries to eat. You can probably see the flaws in his plan here.

Oh, but it gets worse. See, Midas has a daughter who he loves very much. She enters the room, and decides to give her dear old dad a hug. And promptly becomes a very shiny, but still very inert, statue.

Midas realizes here that he’s made a horrible, horrible mistake, and prays to Dionysus to try and fix this.
Dionysus responds, “Oh, sorry bro, I didn’t really think this through either. Probably because I’m drunk basically all the time. Anyway, go to the Pactolus River, wash your hands in it, and touch everything that you goldified. That should fix it all right up.”

So Midas does as he’s told, everything goes back to normal, and Midas learns his lesson about being a greedy prick.

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