Tuesday, November 16, 2021

"King Midas and the Golden Touch" by Ovid

King Midas even turned his daughter to gold (accidentally).

Click to see Vol. I, Issue 3 of the newsletter in which this article first appeared.

Listen to the audio of this story!

This article is designed for younger readers, with activities more suitable for children. The story comes from a book by Ovid, an old Roman writer.

Bacchus, the God of Wine and Merriment, was pleased with King Midas, and gave him his choice of a gift. Being greedy, Midas asked that anything he touched would be turned to gold.

Bacchus was sad that the King had not asked for something better, but granted his wish. Midas was ecstatic. On the way back to his palace, he tested his gift. First, he touched a stick from a tree, then a stone, a piece of earth, corn husks, and apples. They all turned to gold!

Arriving home he washed his hands, and even the water turned to liquid gold! He could not believe his good luck. But while he was dreaming of all the things he could do, his servants brought in his meal. When he touched the bread, it turned to gold. The meat did the same. Every bit of food he touched became hard and yellow gold.

He became very hungry, but nothing could fill his belly or quench his thirst. He cried out to Bacchus for help, and the god kindly told him to go to a certain river and stand under a certain waterfall. He did, and he was cured. Even now, the local people find flakes of gold in that river, gold that had washed off of his body.

Remember: Be careful what you wish for!


Some words to talk about:

  • certain: specific; exact
  • ecstatic: very very happy and excited
  • granted: gave, approved
  • greedy: wanting more and more of something, often money
  • husks: the green, uneaten outside of an ear of corn
  • merriment: partying and fun
  • quench: satisfy; put out (like a fire)


Choose the best answer. Correct answers are in the first comment below.

  1. Why was Bacchus sad?
    A. Because Midas didn't love him.
    B. Because Midas had behaved badly before the story started.
    C. Because Midas made an unwise choice.

  2. Why did Midas think he was lucky?
    A. Because he could become rich.
    B. Because he had golden food.
    C. Because he loved Bacchus.

  3. What problem did Midas discover because of his gift?
    A. Midas was becoming too rich.
    B. Midas was not able to eat or drink.
    C. Midas took a test.

  4. What did Midas do to solve his problem?
    A. Midas made even more gold things.
    B. Midas told his servants to bring his meal.
    C. Midas called on Bacchus to help him.

  5. What did Bacchus tell him to do?
    A. Bacchus told him to stand under a waterfall.
    B. Bacchus told him to get some corn husks.
    C. Bacchus told him to eat the golden food.


These questions do not have "right" or "wrong" answers. They only ask your opinion.

  1. If a god came and offered you your choice of gifts, what would you ask for?
  2. Why did Bacchus grant Midas's wish, even if it made him sad?
  3. Why did Bacchus agree to help Midas in the end?

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Questions to Answer: 1. C; 2. A; 3. B; 4. C; 5. A

    Questions to Think About do not have any single correct answer. However, any answers you give should be supported by what you read or by things you know ("I think... because...").