Page: 33If you had been there and could have had your choice, what would you have wished for? Can you tell? Never wish for anything quite so foolish as King Midas did, for see what trouble it made him.
After making the wish, King Midas leaped into his chariot to return home. As soon as his feet touched the chariot floor, it turned into solid gold. The reins in his hands became gold. He returned to his palace and the people thought it must be Apollo come to earth, everything was so glorious. His wife met him in the palace halls. One touch and she was turned into a golden statue. No help, no rescue! Midas went out into his garden and reached for the fruit that hung on the trees. Nothing but gold after he had touched it. Gold, gold, gold! How he hated the sight of it! His food and drink were gold. His friends, his home, even his pillow was cold hard gold.
In a few hours he raised his arms, glittering with cloth of gold, in prayer, beseeching Bacchus to take his gift away. Bacchus was kind and said: "Go to the river Pactolus, find its fountain head, plunge in, and when your body is covered your fault will be washed away."
Poor King Midas did just as he was told. When he touched the water the strange power went into the river. The river sands changed into gold, and to this day grains of gold are found by the river Pactolus.
After that, Midas lived in the country and dressed as plainly as the poorest peasant. He was so thankful to be free from his terrible gift that he never wanted anyone to remind him of the time when everything he touched turned to gold. But even in the country, the yellow plums, pears, and apples reminded Midas of the fruit he had touched in his own garden.
In autumn, when golden leaves are falling everywhere and the grain is
waving in the field, one may fancy King Midas is in our own land.
"O, grasshopper, grasshopper gray,
Give me molasses and then hop away."
That is what Bessie Allen said to the little creature she held between her thumb and fingers. Did you ever say that rhyme? I should not wonder if you had said it an hundred times.
The grasshopper in Bessie's fingers seemed very ready to give her brown molasses from his little mouth and then she let him hop away while she went to catch another. She did not want that molasses; all she wanted was the fun of catching the little "hoppity-hops," as she sometimes called them.
"Come, catch me! I'm a hopper," called her five-year-old brother Willie. And she saw the little fellow hopping through the grass.
Bessie had so much fun trying to catch this new "grasshopper gray," that she forgot all about the little creatures she had been pinching.
At last she had her arms around her brother Willie.