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LXXXVII.

THE STORY OF KING MIDAS.

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in stant ly 1. A great many years ago there lived a very rich king. It took him many weeks just to count his gold pieces. But he wanted all the time to be getting richer. No matter how much he had, he wanted more. He gave all his time and thought to getting gold.

2. One day when he was counting his gold and looking very sad, a stranger appeared before him. “Why do you look so sad ?" asked the stranger. The king answered, “Oh, if I could only turn everything I touch to gold !”

3. Now the stranger had a wonderful power which he could give to the king. So he said, “From to-morrow, everything you touch shall become gold.”

4. That night the king could hardly sleep for joy. In the morning he raised his purple robe to place it on his shoulders. Instantly every thread was golden. He sat down to fasten his sandals. In a twinkling the chair in which he sat became golden. His sandals, too, the instant he touched them, changed to pure gold.

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5. When he went for his morning walk, every flower became a golden flower. The path, and even the grass that he trod upon, became gold.

6. But even a king will get hungry. So Midas went back to the palace for his breakfast. We are not told what it was, but we may be sure it was a feast fit for a king. He asked for water. A glassful was given him, and the moment he put it to his lips it turned to gold.

7. The poor king could not drink gold. What was he to do? It was of no use to ask for another; that, too, would become gold in his hand. All the money in the world could not buy him a drink of water.

8. He sat down to eat. But every mouthful became gold the moment he put it to his lips. So he could eat nothing. With all his gold he would yet have to starve to death.

9. Then the stranger again appeared. The king, with tears in his eyes, begged him to take away the touch that turned everything to gold.

10. Are you not happy, King Midas?" asked the stranger.

“I am most miserable," groaned the king. “I beg you to take away this hateful touch.”

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11. The stranger told the king to bathe in a stream near by, and the golden touch would leave him; and that water from the same stream would change back from gold anything on which he sprinkled it.

Midas lost no time in obeying. The water washed away the golden touch, but the sands of the river banks became golden, and it is said that grains of gold are to be found there to this day.

Midas was a happier king than he had ever been before.

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1. Tom's father was rich. He lived in a fine house in the country. Tom had a pony and many other pets, and was always well dressed. IIe came to think that being rich was better than anything else – better than being good.

He grew very rude and cross to those he thought below him.

2. One day Tom saw a boy standing at the gate. His hat was torn, and his feet were bare.

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But he had a pleasant face. In one hand he carried a pail half full of blackberries.

“Go away," said Tom. “We are rich, and we don't want dirty, ragged boys around.”

“Please give me a drink,” said the boy. “If you are so rich, you can spare me a dipper of water."

We can't spare you anything,” said Tom. If you don't

go,

I will set the dogs on you." The boy laughed and walked away, swinging the tin pail in his hand.

“I think I will get some blackberries too,” said Tom to himself. He went out of the gate, into a lane leading to a meadow where there were plenty of berries.

4. Tom saw some fine large ones growing just across a ditch. He thought he could leap over it easily. He gave a run and a very big jump. The ditch was wider than he had thought, and instead of going over, he came down in the middle of it.

5. The mud was thick and soft, and Tom sank down to his waist. He was frightened, and screamed for help. But he had not much hope that help would come, for he was a long way from any house.

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