Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and Legendary Heroes HTML version

"What lovely wings you have! They are just like a rainbow. And will you stay with us,"
asked Epimetheus, "for ever and ever?"
"Yes," said Hope, "I shall stay with you as long as you live. Sometimes you will not be
able to see me, and you may think I am dead, but you will find that I come back again
and again when you have given up expecting me, and you must always trust my promise
that I will never really leave you."
"Yes, we do trust you," cried both children. And all the rest of their lives when the
troubles came back and buzzed about their heads and left bitter stings of pain, Pandora
and Epimetheus would remember whose fault it was that the troubles had ever come into
the world at all, and they would then wait patiently till the fairy with the rainbow wings
came back to heal and comfort them.
Once upon a time there lived a very rich King whose name was Midas, and he had a little
daughter whom he loved very dearly. This King was fonder of gold than of anything else
in the whole world: or if he did love anything better, it was the one little daughter who
played so merrily beside her father's footstool.
But the more Midas loved his daughter, the more he wished to be rich for her sake. He
thought, foolish man, that the best thing he could do for his child was to leave her the
biggest pile of yellow glittering gold that had ever been heaped together since the world
began. So he gave all his thoughts and all his time to this purpose.
When he worked in his garden, he used to wish that the [pg 16] roses had leaves made of gold,
and once when his little daughter brought him a handful of yellow buttercups, he
exclaimed, "Now if these had only been real gold they would have been worth
gathering." He very soon forgot how beautiful the flowers, and the grass, and the trees
were, and at the time my story begins Midas could scarcely bear to see or to touch
anything that was not made of gold.
Every day he used to spend a great many hours in a dark, ugly room underground: it was
here that he kept all his money, and whenever Midas wanted to be very happy he would
lock himself into this miserable room and would spend hours and hours pouring the
glittering coins out of his money-bags. Or he would count again and again the bars of
gold which were kept in a big oak chest with a great iron lock in the lid, and sometimes
he would carry a boxful of gold dust from the dark corner where it lay, and would look at
the shining heap by the light that came from a tiny window.
To his greedy eyes there never seemed to be half enough; he was quite discontented.
"What a happy man I should be," he said one day, "if only the whole world could be
made of gold, and if it all belonged to me!"