At last the king grew so fond of his gold that he loved it better than anything else in all the world.
He even loved it better than his own little daughter, dear little rosy-cheeked Marigold. His one great wish seemed to be for more and more gold.
One day while he was in his gold room counting his money, a beautiful fairy boy stood before him.
The boy’s face shone with a wonderful light, and he had wings on his cap and wings on his feet. In his hand he carried a strange-looking wand, and the wand also had wings.
“Midas, you are the richest man in the world,” said the fairy. “There is no king who has so much gold as you.”
“That may be,” said the king. “As you see, I have this room full of gold, but I should like much more; for gold is the best and the most wonderful thing in the world.”
“Are you sure?” asked the fairy.
“I am very sure,” answered the king.
“If I should grant you one wish,” said the fairy, “would you ask for more gold?”
“If I could have but one wish,” said the king, “I would ask that everything I touched should turn to beautiful yellow gold.”
“Your wish shall be granted,” said the fairy “At sunrise to-morrow morning your slightest touch will turn everything into gold. But warn you that your gift will not make you happy.”
“I will take the risk,” said the king.
THE GOLDEN TOUCH—II
The next morning King Midas awoke very early. He was eager to see if the fairy’s promise had come true.
As soon as the sun arose he tried the gift by touching the bed lightly with his hand.
The bed turned to gold.
He touched the chair and table.
Upon the instant they were turned to solid gold.
The king was wild with joy.
He ran around the room, touching everything he could see. His magic gift turned all to shining, yellow gold.
The king soon felt hungry and went down to eat his breakfast. Now a strange thing happened. When he raised a glass of clear cold water to drink, it became solid gold.
Not a drop of water could pass his lips.
The bread turned to gold under his fingers.
The meat was hard, and yellow, and shiny.
Not a thing could he get to eat.
All was gold, gold, gold.
His little daughter came running in from the garden.
Of all living creatures she was the dearest to him.
He touched her hair with his lips.
At once the little girl was changed to a golden statue.
A great fear crept into the king’s heart, sweeping all the joy out of his life.
In his grief he called and called upon the fairy who had given him the gift of the golden touch.
“O fairy,” he begged, “take away this horrible golden gift! Take all my lands. Take all my gold. Take everything, only give me back my little daughter.”