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say. Asleep or awake, however, his mind was probably in the state of a child's to whom a beautiful new plaything has been promised in the morning. At any rate, day had hardly peeped

over the hills, when King Midas was broad awake, and, stretch5 ing his arms out of bed, began to touch the objects that were

within reach. He was anxious to prove whether the Golden Touch had really come, according to the stranger's promise. So he laid his finger on a chair by the bedside, and cn various other

things, but was grievously disappointed to perceive that they 10 remained of exactly the same substance as before.

All this while, it was only the gray of the morning, with but a streak of brightness along the edge of the sky, where Midas could not see it. He lay in a very unhappy mood, regretting

the downfall of his hopes, and kept growing sadder and sadder, 15 until the earliest sunbeam shone through the window, and gilded

the ceiling over his head. It seemed to Midas that this bright yellow sunbeam was reflected in rather a singular way on the white covering of the bed. Looking more closely, what was his

astonishment and delight, when he found that this linen fabric 20 had been changed to what seemed a woven texture of the

purest and brightest gold! The Golden Touch had come to him, with the first sunbeam !

II

THE GIFT OF THE GOLDEN TOUCH

Midas started up, in a kind of joyful frenzy, and ran about the room grasping at everything that happened to be in his 25 way. He seized one of the bed-posts, and it became immediately

a fluted golden pillar. He pulled aside a window-curtain, in order to admit a clear spectacle of the wonders which he was performing; and the tassel grew heavy in his hand—a mass of

gold. He took up a book from the table. At his first touch, it 30 assumed the appearance of such a splendidly-bound and gilt

edged volume as one often meets with now-a-days; but, on running his fingers through the leaves, behold! it was a bundle

of thin golden plates, in which all the wisdom of the book had grown indistinct. He hurriedly put on his clothes, and was delighted to see himself in a magnificent suit of gold cloth,

which retained its flexibility and softness, although it burdened 5 him a little with its weight.

Wise King Midas was so excited by his good fortune, that the palace seemed not sufficiently spacious to contain him. He therefore went down stairs, and smiled, on observing that the

balustrade of the staircase became a bar of burnished gold, as 10 his hand passed over it in his descent. He lifted the door latch

(it was brass only a moment ago, but golden when his fingers quitted it), and went into the garden. Here, as it happened, he found a great number of beautiful roses in full bloom, and

others in all the stages of lovely bud and blossom. Very 15 delicious was their fragrance in the morning breeze. Their

delicate blush was one of the fairest sights in the world: so gentle, so modest, and so full of sweet composure, did these roses seem to be.

But Midas knew a way to make them far more precious, 20 according to his way of thinking, than roses had ever been

before. So he took great pains in going from bush to bush, and exercised his magic touch most freely; until every individual flower and bud, and even the worms at the heart of some of

them, were changed to gold. By the time this good work was 25 completed, King Midas was called to breakfast; and, as the

morning air had given him an excellent appetite, he made haste back to the palace.

What was usually a king's breakfast, in the days of Midas, I really do not know, and cannot stop now to find out. To 30 the best of my belief, however, on this particular morning, the

breakfast consisted of hot cakes, some nice little brook-trout, roasted potatoes, fresh boiled eggs, and coffee, for King Midas himself, and a bowl of bread and milk for his daughter Marygold. At all events, this is a breakfast fit to be set before a king;

and, whether he had it or not, King Midas could not have had a better.

Little Marygold had not yet made her appearance. Her father ordered her to be called, and, seating himself at table, 3 awaited the child's coming, in order to begin his own breakfast.

To do Midas justice, he really loved his daughter, and loved her so much the more this morning, on account of the good fortune which had befallen him. It was not a great while before he

heard her coming along the passage crying bitterly. This cir10 cumstance surprised him, because Marygold was one of the

cheerfulest little people whom you would see in a summer's day, and hardly shed a thimbleful of tears in a twelvemonth. When Midas heard her sobs, he determined to put little Marygold

into better spirits, by an agreeable surprise; so, leaning across 15 the table, he touched his daughter's bowl (which was a china

one, with pretty figures all around it), and turned it to gleaming gold.

Meanwhile, Marygold slowly and sadly opened the door, and showed herself with her apron at her eyes, still sobbing 20 as if her heart would break.

"How now, my little lady!” cried Midas. "Pray what is the matter with you, this bright morning ?”

Marygold, without taking the apron from her eyes, held out her hand, in which was one of the roses which Midas had 25 so recently changed.

“Beautiful !” exclaimed her father. "And what is there in this magnificent golden rose to make you cry?”

"Ah, dear father!" answered the child, as well as her sobs would let her; "it is not beautiful, but the ugliest flower that 30 ever grew! As soon as I was dressed, I ran into the garden

to gather some roses for you; because I know you like them, and like them the better when gathered by your little daughter. But, oh dear, dear me! What do you think has happened ?

Such a misfortune! All the beautiful roses, that smelled so 35 sweetly and had so many lovely blushes, are blighted and spoilt!

They are grown quite yellow, as you see this one, and have no longer any fragrance! What can have been the matter ?”

"Poh, my dear little girl,-pray don't cry about it!” said Midas, who was ashamed to confess that he himself had wrought 5 the change which so greatly afflicted her. “Sit down and eat

your bread and milk! You will find it easy enough to exchange a golden rose like that (which will last hundreds of years), for an ordinary one, which would wither in a day.”

"I don't care for such roses as this !” cried Marygold. "It 10 has no smell, and the hard petals prick my nose !"

III

THE KING'S BREAKFAST OF GOLD

The child now sat down to table, but was so occupied with her grief for the blighted roses that she did not even notice the wonderful change of her china bowl. Perhaps this was all

the better; for Marygold was accustomed to take pleasure 15 in looking at the queer figures and strange trees and houses,

that were painted on the outside of the bowl; and those ornaments were now entirely lost in the yellow hue of the metal.

Midas, meanwhile, had poured out a cup of coffee; and, as a matter of course, the coffee-pot, whatever metal it may have 20 been when he took it up, was gold when he set it down. He

thought to himself, that it was rather an extravagant style oí splendor, in a king of his simple habits, to breakfast off a service of gold, and began to be puzzled with the difficulty of

keeping his treasures safe. The cupboard and the kitchen 25 would no longer be a safe place of deposit for articles so valuable as golden bowls and coffee-pots.

Amid these thoughts, he lifted a spoonful of coffee to his lips, and, sipping it, was astonished to perceive that, the

instant his lips touched the liquid, it became molten gold, and 30 the next moment, hardened into a lump!

"Ha!” exclaimed Midas, rather aghast.

“What is the matter, father?” asked little Marygold, gazing at him, with tears still standing in her eyes.

"Nothing, child, nothing !" said Midas. “Eat your bread and milk, before it gets quite cold."

He took one of the nice little trouts on his plate, and, by way of experiment, touched its tail with his finger. To his horror, it was immediately changed from an admirably-fried brook-trout into a gold fish, though not one of those gold-fishes

which people often keep in glass globes, as ornaments for the 10 parlor. No; but it was really a metallic fish, and looked as if it

had been very cunningly made by the nicest goldsmith in the world. Its little bones were now golden wires; its fins and tail were thin plates of gold; and there were the marks of the fork

in it, and all the delicate, frothy appearance of a nicely fried 15 fish, exactly imitated in metal. A very pretty piece of work,

as you may suppose; only King Midas, just at that moment, would much rather have had a real trout in his dish than this elaborate and valuable imitation of one.

"I don't quite see,” thought he to himself, “how I am to 20 get any breakfast !”

He took one of the smoking hot cakes, and had scarcely broken it, when, to his cruel mortification, though, a moment before, it had been of the whitest wheat, it assumed the yellow

hue of Indian meal. To say the truth, if it had really been a 25 hot Indian cake, Midas would have prized it a good deal more

than he now did, when its solidity and increased weight made him know too well that it was gold. Almost in despair, he helped himself to a boiled egg, which immediately underwent

a change similar to those of the trout and the cake. The egg, 30 indeed, might have been mistaken for one of those which the

famous goose, in the story-book, was in the habit of laying; but King Midas was the only goose that had had anything to do with the matter.

"Well, this is a puzzle!” thought he, leaning back in his 35 chair, and looking quite enviously at little Marygold, who was

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