Once upon a time there lived a very rich King, whose name was Midas. He had a little daughter Marigold whom he loved very much.
King Midas loved gold more than anything else in the world, except for his little daughter.
One day Midas was enjoying the sight of gold in his treasure room, when a stranger appeared before him.
"You are a rich man, King Midas," he said, "You have a lot of gold in this room. Nobody else in the world has as much."
"Yes, I have," answered Midas, "but not as much as I wish to have. I wish everything that I touch to be changed to gold."
"The Golden Touch?" said the stranger. "But are you quite sure that this will make you happy?"
"Of course, I am," said Midas.
"And will you never be sorry to have the Golden Touch?"
"Never!" cried Midas. "I'll be very happy!"
"Be it as you wish then," replied the stranger. "Tomorrow at sunrise you will get the Golden Touch."
In the morning, when the sun rose, the King woke up, and saw that his bed had been changed to gold. Midas was very, very happy.
He jumped out of bed and ran around the room touching everything. He took up a book, and turned over the leaves; at once the leaves changed to gold, and the words of the book could not be read.
He put on his clothes and found himself dressed in gold which was very heavy. He took out his handkerchief, and it also became gold.
In the garden, he saw a row of beautiful rose bushes. He went from bush to bush touching each one as he passed until every flower was changed to gold.
Then, very happy, he went back to the palace to have breakfast.
King Midas sat at table waiting for little Marigold. Soon she came into the room, crying.
"Now, now, my little lady!" cried Midas. "What is the matter with you, this bright morning?"
Marigold was holding a rose in one of her hands. It was one of the roses Midas had turned into gold.
"Beautiful!" cried her father.
"Ah, dear Father, it is not beautiful. I ran into the garden to get some roses for you. But there are no more beautiful roses there. They no longer smell sweet, and they are quite yellow."
"Oh, my dear little girl, don't cry about it," said Midas. "Sit down and eat your breakfast."
Then he took a cup of coffee and wanted to drink it. He was astonished to find that he could not. When his lips touched the coffee, it became gold. Then he put a nice little fish on his plate, and carefully touched its tail with his finger. It at once changed to gold.
"I don't quite see," he thought to himself, "how I can eat my breakfast."
Now he tried one of the hot cakes, and then an egg. Both changed into yellow gold. Hoping that by being very quick he might get something to eat, King Midas then took a hot potato and put it into his mouth.
But the Golden Touch was too quick for him. He found his mouth full of hot metal. He jumped up from the table and began to dance around the room, shouting with pain.
"Father, dear Father!" cried little Marigold, "What is the matter? What has happened to you?"
"Oh, my dear child," answered Midas sadly, "it's terrible, it's terrible."
Pretty Marigold jumped up from her chair, and, running to Midas, threw her arms around him. He kissed her.
"My dear Marigold!" he cried.
But Marigold did not answer. Her sweet rosy face became yellow. Little Marigold was a child no longer, but a golden statue.