By Kamlesh Tripathi
THE GREEDY KING—MIDAS
Once upon a time Greece was being ruled by a king called Midas. He was extremely greedy. Besides, his daughter the only thing he loved in the world was Gold. And he was so greedy about gold that even while sleeping he used to make plans of amassing gold in large quantities.
One day while the king was sitting in his treasury and counting his possessions in terms of gold bricks and coins, he saw a ring of smoke rising from the ground and behind that a golden silhouette emerged with a halo on the top that almost resembled an angel. He was transfixed for a moment till the angel said—‘Midas! You are so rich.’
Midas turned melancholic at once and replied—‘Where am I rich. I have so little gold.’
Angel said—‘You are not content even with so much of gold? How much gold do you want?’
King Midas replied—‘I desire; whatever I touch with my hands should turn into gold.’
Angel laughed at the wish of the king and said—‘Very well! From tomorrow morning whatever you touch will turn into gold.’
That night the king could not sleep. He got up quite early in the morning. After getting up he decided to keep his hand on the chair lying close to him just to test the words of the angel. To his surprise the chair turned into gold. He then touched a table and that too turned into gold. Midas in delight started merry making by jumping and dancing. Like a mad man he then ran towards his garden and started touching the plants there. Then he touched the flowers and the leaves, he even touched the branches and the flower pots and everything turned into gold. Everything around was now glittering like gold. Midas now had unlimited gold.
Merry making and excitement had made king Midas tired by now. He hadn’t even realised that his clothes had become heavy as it had turned into gold. He was now thirsty and hungry. After returning from the garden he came and sat on a golden chair. One of his servants kept some delicious food and water in front of him realising his master was hungry. But the moment he touched the food it turned into gold and the moment he lifted the glass of water that too also turned into gold and this made him somewhat nervous. All the delicious food lying in front of Midas had now turned into gold when he was very hungry. He couldn’t have satisfied his hunger and quenched his thirst by food and water made out of gold.
He started weeping. Just then his daughter who was playing in the vicinity came there, when she heard her father crying. And, seeing him crying she climbed on to his lap to wipe his tears. Emotional Midas hugged his daughter but soon realised that his daughter was no more there and in her place Midas had his daughter’s golden statue that was very heavy for him to hold on to. Poor Midas started banging his head on the calamity. Angel who was watching king Midas from heaven witnessed the calamity that befell on him and felt sympathetic towards him and appeared again. On seeing her Midas fell on her feet and started pleading—‘please take back your blessing.’
Angel asked—‘Midas! Now you don’t want gold? Tell me whether a glass of water is more precious or gold? A morsel of bread is beneficial or gold?’
Midas folded his hands and said—‘I don’t want gold. I have come to know that a man doesn’t require gold to survive. Without gold a man can exist but without a glass of water or a loaf of bread he cannot. Now on I will not be greedy for gold.’
Angel then gave him a bowl full of water and said—‘sprinkle this all over.’
Midas sprinkled the water on his daughter, on the chair and the table, on the food and water, in the garden and on the plants and flowers, and everything thereafter from gold came back to its original form.