With a gleam in his eye and with greed in his breast,
King Midas sat counting the gold in his chest.
"I wish," Midas thought, being foolish and old,
"I wish all I touched would at once turn to gold!"
Imagine, my dears, if you possibly can,
The surprise and delight of this miserly man
When Bacchus, that ancient and jovial god,
Granted his wish with a wink and a nod!
King Midas was rather surprised, I suspect,
When the wish he had wished started taking effect.
The floor turned to gold at the touch of his toes,
A fly did the same when it lit on his nose.
His tabby-cat, arching her back with a purr,
Turned into gold when he fondled her fur.
Yet worse was to come! At the table that night
His bread turned to gold at his very first bite,
While the tea he was thirstily yearning to sip,
Stiffened to gold at the touch of his lip.
'Twas then that his daughter, observing his face,
Cried, "What is the matter?"—and leaving her place,
She kissed him and hugged him. At once, with a moan
She became a small statue of yellowy stone!
King Midas cried out in his grief and despair:
"Help me, O Bacchus!" The god heard his prayer.
He bade the king bathe in a river's cool water.
With drops of the same the king sprinkled his daughter,
And seeing her stir, he was moved to declare:
"No gold do I want but the gold of her hair!"
Having washed all his troublesome magic away,
He stepped to the shore . . . and the old legends say
The sands of that river are gold to this day!