That saying comes from a story in Greek mythology about a man named King Midas who gained the power to turn anything into gold with just a single touch, but it didn’t work out quite like he expected…
THE DRUNK SATYR IN THE ROSE GARDEN
One quiet evening King Midas was sitting in his beautiful palace counting his many piles of gold. Suddenly two of his guards burst through the doors and into the room. They were practically out of breath and each one was gripping an arm of a strange looking being, a half-man half-goat creature called a satyr.
The guards quickly explained that they had found the satyr stumbling around the royal rose garden with a jug of wine in his hand and singing loudly to the moon. They wanted to know if King Midas thought the creature should be thrown into a dungeon or simply tossed outside of the city gates.
King Midas, however, knew that doing either of those would be a very bad idea. He recognized the satyr as a good friend of Dionysus, the god of wine and chaos. Dionysus wasn’t someone whose bad side you wanted to get on that’s for sure, so King Midas ordered the guards to let the satyr go at once.
“Welcome to my palace honorable Silenus!” said King Midas to the satyr, “Sorry for the rough treatment, the guards didn’t recognize who you were.”
Silenus replied with a smile and mumbled something about getting lost from his group while they were out partying. Then he stumbled sideways over to a nearby table and fell asleep right on top of it.
A GOLDEN WISH
King Midas was a clever man and realized that he had a chance to make the strange situation with the satyr into a way to earn the favor of Dionysus. And maybe, if he was lucky, he might even get a nice pile of golden coins for his trouble.
King Midas wined and dined Silenus, treating him as an honored royal guest for quite some time. Then he personally escorted Silenus on the road back to where Dionysus was holding festivities.
Dionysus was so grateful for the return of his beloved friend that he immediately told King Midas he’d grant whatever wish he wanted, no matter what it was.
Well King Midas couldn’t believe his incredible luck. His first thought was to wish for a life-sized mountain made from golden coins, but then he had another idea that made his eyes sparkle with excitement.
“My wish is for anything I touch to turn into gold,” he said quickly, before Dionysus could change his mind.
Dionysus paused for a moment, then said “Are you sure this is what you really want? Perhaps …something else… would be better.”
But King Midas was adamant, what could be better than an endless supply of glittering gold?
“So be it,” said Dionysus and granted the wish.
THE GOLDEN TOUCH
King Midas rushed back to the palace to show off his newfound power to the people there. He walked up to a tree in the royal courtyard and touched a branch with his fingers and immediately the entire tree turned to solid gold, leaves and all.
He had a marvelous time turning every object in the courtyard into piles of gleaming gold right before the eyes of his astonished subjects, and that night a feast was held in honor of his new abilities. But as he bit down on his food he got a nasty shock on his teeth –the food had turned to solid gold in his hand.
Frantically King Midas grabbed portion after portion of food, but each time it turned to gold. He tried to take a drink of wine to calm himself down …but the wine turned to solid gold as soon as it touched his lips.
By this time he was in great distress and everybody at the large table was noticing. “I’m going to starve to death!“ he said in exasperation.
What happened next changed King Midas’ life forever. Princess Aurelia, wanting to comfort her father, got up from her chair and gave him a reassuring hug. Instantly her entire body was transformed into solid gold.
Standing before him, where his daughter used to be, was now a beautiful but lifeless golden statue.
THE RIVER PACTOLUS
King Midas was insane with grief, his lust for gold had taken away the one thing he truly cared about in the world. He knew that his only hope now was to go back to Dionysus and beg to get rid of the golden touch. But when he got there he found that Dionysus did not want to cooperate.
King Midas begged and pleaded, he told the story of what happened to his daughter and how he would trade all the gold in the world to be able to have her back as she used to be. At this Dionysus finally relented.
“Go to the river Pactolus and wash yourself in the water. Then all will be as it was before you received your gift,” said Dionysus waving him away.
King Midas wasted no time going to the river Pactolus. He put his hands in the water and where the river flowed over them there were bright streams of gold. From that day forward the Pactolus river has always had gold mixed in with the sand on it’s riverbanks. More importantly though, the Princess Aurelia was restored to her former self.
King Midas was never the same after this experience, now even just the thought of anything gold would make him shudder. He retired from running the kingdom and was often seen walking through the forest admiring the simple pleasures of nature. But his favorite thing to do by far was even more simple: to sit and have a nice dinner …while enjoying every delicious bite of food and sip of wine, with no gold to be seen anywhere.
It’s about time for another scary story, don’t you think? Here’s one that’s been around for a long time in one form or another. I’ve always liked this story (no matter what the version) because of the twist ending, well, see for yourself…
THE TOWN GRAVEYARD
A group of teenagers were walking home one night, each of them staring down at their shoes but not really paying attention to much of anything. The fact was, they lived in a small town and it had been another boring day in the boring town.
Things had gotten so bad that they didn’t even talk that much anymore because there wasn’t anything new to talk about.
That is, until they happened to pass the town graveyard.
The ringleader of their little group saw an opportunity for something interesting to happen (finally), so he made a sudden turn down the dirt road that lead into the graveyard.
The rest of them followed, half reluctantly and half excitedly. The graveyard had been founded by the mysterious first settlers of the town and was an old, spooky place full of crooked tombstones and moss covered trees. It was definitely terrifying to be there after dark, but at least it wasn’t boring.
THE DARE AND THE KNIFE
“Oooooooo,” said the ringleader boy in a fake ghost voice and waving his hands in the air, “whoooooo’s scared? I bet you are… VICTORIA!” He yelled the last word and jumped out at a girl who had been looking around nervously.
She screamed and the rest of the group laughed (mainly because they were happy it wasn’t them that got scared). If it wasn’t so dark out they would have seen her face turning bright red in embarrassment. “Oh stop being so stupid,” she said trying to compose herself so everyone would stop laughing.
“Who’s stupid?” said the boy smirking, “at least I’m not afraid of some old piles of dirt.”
“I’m not afraid!” she said a bit too loudly and made a point of walking near a grave.
“I wouldn’t get too close,” said the boy, “if you stand on a grave after dark a hand will come up from the dirt and grab… YOUR FOOT!” he yelled and pointed at her left foot.
Of course, she immediately screamed and jumped away from the grave. The whole group around her burst out into hysterical laughter.
This was too much for Victoria to bear. “You’re full of it,” she said, gathering up her courage and walking over to the grave. She made herself stand on top if it, “See, nothing. Who’s the stupid one now?”
“Oh no you don’t,” said the boy, “you wouldn’t be so brave if we weren’t all here to save you if something took hold of your foot.” He then handed her something and said “Here.”
“A knife?” she said, “Oh so what, I’m supposed to be stabbing zombies now?”
“No. We,” said the boy pointing to himself and the rest of the group, “are going to finish walking home. And if you’re not too chicken then you can stand on the grave properly, by yourself, and then stick that knife in the grave to prove that you actually did it.”
“Fine, whatever,” said Victoria. She had meant to sound tough but as usual it just came out weak. She watched as the group turned around and walked down the dirt path towards the gate, they were all giggling.
HEART BEATING FAST
“Victoria!” whispered somebody from the back of the group, “Just forget it and come on.” It was a girl’s voice, so it was probably her friend Rakisha.
“No, I’m tired of him and his fake stories,” said Victoria and she made a big point of folding her arms and sitting down on the grave.
She listened to the footsteps and was hoping to hear her friend coming back to drag her off, but no such luck. Soon the footsteps completely faded away, leaving her with only the eerie rustling of the dry grass to listen to.
How long would she need to stay there to prove she wasn’t afraid? Every second that passed seemed to make her heart beat harder and harder.
She heard a thud from somewhere behind her and practically jumped out of her skin, and at that she decided she couldn’t wait any longer. Plus …had the ground beneath her moved a bit? Just thinking about the ground moving made her heart practically pound out of her chest and she could barely breathe. With shaking hands she unfolded the knife as fast as she could manage and then stabbed the blade straight into the dirt below.
But when she got up to walk off she realized with a sickening sense of horror that she couldn’t walk. Something had hold of her left foot!
“Help! Help it’s got me!” she yelled while trying desperately to pull her leg free, but it only tripped her up and made her fall down onto the grave. She thrashed and screamed but it was no use, something had hold of her foot. Then everything went dead silent.
AT THE GRAVE
The next day at school word got around that Victoria hadn’t come home the night before. The kids from the group all looked at each other guiltily, then snuck out of class as soon as they got the chance.
They headed to the graveyard, once again not talking, but this time for a different reason. Each one of them was thinking about what they might find there.
And as they walked up to the grave their worst fears were realized. There she was in front of the tombstone, dead but with eyes open and a horror struck look on her face.
Down by her right foot was the knife, still sticking through the corner of her jeans and into the ground.
You see, in her hurry to get away she had stabbed the knife right through the corner of her jeans by her foot and into the dirt. It wasn’t something from the grave that had gotten a hold of her, it was only the knife.
She had been so scared though that she simply couldn’t think clearly enough to set herself free …and had died of terror.