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Words and Phrases for Study PRONUNCIATION: påss'-es

ar'-mor (är'-mēr) wan'-der (won'-dér)



ti-ny-very small; little.
pâr'-cel-a number of things put together; a bundle.
för'-est-a large piece of land covered with trees.
board—to go on board as a ship or railway car.

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Once upon a time, there lived a very rich man, and a king besides, whose name was Midas; and he had a little daughter, whom nobody but myself ever heard of, and whose name I either

never knew, or have entirely forgotten. So, because I love odd 5 names for little girls, I choose to call her Marygold.

This King Midas was fonder of gold than of anything else in the world. He valued his royal crown chiefly because it was composed of that precious metal. If he loved anything better,

or half so well, it was the one little maiden who played so 10 merrily around her father's footstool. But the more Midas

loved his daughter, the more did he desire and seek for wealth. He thought, foolish man! that the best thing he could possibly do for this dear child would be to give her the immensest pile

of yellow, glistening coin, that had ever been heaped together 15 since the world was made. Thus, he gave all his thoughts and all his time to this one purpose.

If ever he happened to gaze for an instant at the gold-tinted clouds of sunset, he wished that they were real gold, and that they could be squeezed safely

into his strong box. When little Marygold ran to meet him, 20 with a bunch of buttercups and dandelions, he used to say,

“Poh, poh, child! If these flowers were as golden as they look, they would be worth the plucking !"

And yet, in his earlier days, before he was so entirely possessed of this insane desire for riches, King Midas had shown 25 a great taste for flowers. He had planted a garden, in which

grew the biggest and beautifulest and sweetest roses that any mortal ever saw or smelt. These roses were still growing in the garden, as large, as lovely, and as fragrant, as when Midas *For biography see page 327,

used to pass whole hours in gazing at them, and inhaling their perfume. But now, if he looked at them at all, it was only to calculate how much the garden would be worth, if each of the

many rose-petals were a thin plate of gold. 5 At length (as people always grow more and more foolish,

unless they take care to grow wiser and wiser), Midas had got to be so exceedingly unreasonable, that he could scarcely bear to see or touch any object that was not gold. He made it his

custom, therefore, to pass a large portion of every day in a 10 dark and dreary apartment, under ground, at the basement of his

palace. It was here that he kept his wealth. To this dismal hole—for it was little better than a dungeon--Midas betook himself, whenever he wanted to be particularly happy. Here,

after carefully locking the door, he would take a bag of gold 15 coin, or a gold cup as big as a wash-bowl, or a heavy golden

bar, or a peck-measure of gold-dust, and bring them from the obscure corners of the room into the one bright and narrow sunbeam that fell from the dungeon-like window. He valued

the sunbeam for no other reason but that his treasure would not 20 shine without its help. And then would he reckon over the

coins in the bag; toss up the bar, and catch it as it came down; sift the gold-dust through his fingers; look at the funny image of his own face, as reflected in the polished surface of the cup;

and whisper to himself, “O Midas, rich King Midas, what a 25 happy man art thou !"

Midas was enjoying himself in his treasure-room one day, as usual, when he saw a shadow fall over the heaps of gold; and, looking suddenly up, what should he behold but the

figure of a stranger, standing in the bright and narrow sun30 beam! It was a young man, with a cheerful and ruddy face.

Whether it was that the imagination of King Midas threw a yellow tinge over everything, or whatever the cause might be, he could not help fancying that the smile with which the stranger

regarded him had a kind of golden radiance in it. 35

As Midas knew that he had carefully turned the key in the

lock, and that no mortal strength could possibly break into his treasure-room, he, of course, concluded that his visitor must be something more than mortal. It is no matter about telling you

who he was. In those days, when the earth was comparatively 5 a new affair, it was supposed to be often the resort of beings

who had extraordinary powers, and who used to interest themselves in the joys and sorrows of men, women, and children, half playfully and half seriously. Midas had met such beings

before now, and was not sorry to meet one of them again. The 10 stranger's manner, indeed, was so good-humored and kindly

that it would have been unreasonable to suspect him of intending any mischief. It was far more probable that he came to do Midas a favor. And what could that favor be, unless to multiply his heaps of treasure?

15 The stranger gazed about the room; and when his bright

smile had glistened upon all the golden objects that were there, he turned again to Midas.

“You are a wealthy man, friend Midas !” he observed. “I doubt whether any other four walls on earth contain so much 20 gold as you have piled up in this room.”

“I have done pretty well—pretty well,” answered Midas, in a discontented tone. “But, after all, it is but a trifle, when you consider that it has taken me my whole life to get it

together. If one could live a thousand years, he might have 25 time to grow rich!"

“What !” exclaimed the stranger. “Then you are not satisfied ? Midas shook his head.

“And pray what would satisfy you ?” asked the stranger. “Merely for the curiosity of the thing, I should be glad to

30 know."

Midas paused and meditated. He had a feeling that this stranger, with such a golden lustre in his good-humored smile, had come hither with both the power and the purpose of gratifying his utmost wishes. Now, therefore, was the fortunate

moment, when he had but to speak, and obtain whatever possible, or seemingly impossible thing, it might come into his head to ask. So he thought, and thought, and thought, and

heaped up one golden mountain upon another, in his imagina5 tion, without being able to imagine them big enough. At last,

a bright idea occurred to King Midas. It seemed really as bright as the glistening metal which he loved so much.

Raising his head, he looked the lustrous stranger in the face.

"Well, Midas," observed his visitor, "I see that you have at 10 length hit upon something that will satisfy you. Tell me your wish.

"It is only this,” replied Midas. "I am weary of collecting my treasures with so much trouble, and beholding the heap so

small after I have done my best. I wish everything that I 15 touch to be changed to gold !”

The stranger's smile grew so very broad, that it seemed to fill the room like an outburst of the sun gleaming into a shadowy dell, where the yellow autumnal leaves—for so looked the lumps

and particles of gold-lie strewn in the glow of light. 20 "The Golden Touch !” exclaimed he. “You certainly deserve

credit, friend Midas, for striking out so brilliant an idea. But are you quite sure that this will satisfy you ?”

“How could it fail ?” said Midas.

“And will you never regret the possession of it?” 25 "What could induce me?" asked Midas. "I ask nothing else to render me perfectly happy."

"Be it as you wish, then," replied the stranger, waving his hand in token of farewell. “To-morrow, at sunrise, you will

find yourself gifted with the Golden Touch." 30 The figure of the stranger then became exceedingly bright,

and Midas was forced to close his eyes. On opening them again, he beheld only one yellow sunbeam in the room, and, all around him., the glistening of the precious metal which he had

spent his life in hoarding up. 35 Whether Midas slept as usual that night, the story does not

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