VOCABULARY Ancient: from a time long ago Gleefully: joyfully, with great delight Goblet: a fancy cup Bolt: run away suddenly Flecks: tiny pieces Be careful what you wish for. Based on the myth of King Midas PROLOGUE N1: Have you heard the myth of King Midas? N2: It’s a story about a terrible king who was terribly greedy. N1: His greed almost ruined his life—and the lives of everyone around him. N2: The myth of King Midas is more than 2,000 years old. It comes from ancient Greece. N1: Greek myths were thrilling stories about gods and goddesses. N2: They were exciting tales about heroes and monsters. N1: The myth of King Midas is still famous today. N2: It has a moral, or message. N1: That message is a warning. CHORUS: Money can’t buy happiness. SCENE 1 N2: King Midas sits in his treasure room. N1: Around him are shining diamonds . . . N2: . . . Twinkling rubies . . . N1: . . . And piles of gold coins. CHORUS: King Midas is the richest man in all the land. N2: Midas tosses a handful of coins into the air. MIDAS: It’s not enough! I want more! N1: Midas arranges coins into stacks and counts them. MIDAS: One hundred, two hundred . . . N2: A sad-looking girl watches CHORUS: She’s Midas’s daughter, Marigold. MARIGOLD: Father, will you come see my garden? The roses are blooming. MIDAS (angry): You made me lose count! MARIGOLD: You have not left this room in days! MIDAS: Why would I? My precious gold shines brighter than the sun. MARIGOLD: Isn’t anything else precious to you? N1: Midas ignores her and turns back to his treasure. MIDAS: Oh, sweet riches! SCENE 2 N2: A crowd gathers in the great hall of Midas’s palace. N1: Midas marches in. The room falls silent. ADVISER: Sorry for disturbing you. But this man says he knows you. N2: An old man steps forward. SILENUS: Hello, King Midas. MIDAS: Silenus, my old friend! I thought you were off hunting with Dionysus and his friends. SILENUS: I was. But I fell asleep, and they left without me. I came here for help. MIDAS: I will send men to find them. In the meantime, I will honor you with a great feast. SCENE 3 N1: The next day, Midas’s men find Dionysus. N2: Midas and Silenus ride out to the forest. N1: They meet Dionysus at the river. DIONYSUS: Where have you been, Silenus? We were worried! SILENUS: I got lost. But King Midas fed me and gave me a place to stay. DIONYSUS: Midas, I must reward your kindness. Tell me your heart’s desire. I will make your wish come true. MIDAS: Gold is what I love most. I want everything I touch to turn into gold. DIONYSUS: What a terrible wish! Please, choose Something else. MIDAS: I cannot. That is my heart’s desire. DIONYSUS: And what will you do with all your gold? MIDAS: I will treasure it. DIONYSUS: Very well. Your wish is granted. SCENE 4 N2: Midas finds himself back in his treasure room. He must have been asleep. CHORUS: Was it all a dream? N1: Midas stumbles toward the door. N2: As he touches it . . . MIDAS: Gold! It turned into gold! N1: He touches the wall. MIDAS: Again, gold! N2: Midas runs through his palace, touching everything. MIDAS: Everything is gold! My carpets are gold! My windows are gold! Hooray! SCENE 5 N1: Midas races to Marigold’s rose garden, where she and a servant are working. MIDAS: Marigold! Marigold! MARIGOLD: Father, look at my lovely roses. They’re so red, and their scent is wonderful. MIDAS (impatiently): Yes, yes. I have a surprise for you. N2: Midas touches the rosebush. It turns to gold. MARIGOLD (gasps): Ahh! MIDAS: See how beautiful your roses are now! SERVANT: Can this be real? MIDAS: It is real! And this is only the beginning. MARIGOLD: I do not know how you got this power, but you have ruined my flowers. They’ve lost their color. They smell like metal. And the petals are so sharp. MIDAS: But they are worth a fortune. MARIGOLD: They are ruined. And I fear you are ruined too. SERVANT: Master, could you give me a gold rose? It would feed my family for a year. CHORUS: Midas is not listening. He is gleefully touching butterflies as they fly past. They fall to the ground— N1: Thud. N2: Thud. N1: Thud. SCENE 6 CHORUS: That night, lords and ladies gather at the king’s palace for a feast. SERVANT: My lady, would you care for a piece of pigeon pie? LADY HELEN: I would prefer roasted goat. LORD ELIAS: I would like some of that pudding with rose water. Did the roses come from your garden, Marigold? MARIGOLD: Yes, but this may be the last time you ever taste them. LORD ELIAS: Why? MARIGOLD: I will let my father answer that. MIDAS: I have something to tell you all. Lady Helen, hand me your plate. CHORUS: The king touches the plate. It turns to gold. N2: Everyone gasps. LADY HELEN: Is it real gold? LORD ELIAS: Turn my plate into gold too! N1: King Midas turns everything on the table to gold, even the flames on the candles. LADY HELEN: Our country will be the richest in the world, thanks to your golden touch! LORD ELIAS: The Midas touch. N2: Smiling, King Midas lifts his goblet to take a drink. N1: At once, the liquid hardens into gold. N2: Midas’s hand shakes as he reaches for bread. N1: It hardens into a gold lump. MARIGOLD: Father, you look sick. Are you all right? N2: Marigold places her hand on her father’s arm. MIDAS: No! CHORUS: But it is too late. Marigold turns to solid gold before everyone’s eyes. ALL (screaming): Aaaah! N1: The guests bolt from the palace in terror. N2: Midas falls beside the gold statue of his daughter, crying. SCENE 7 N1: Days later, Midas sits in his palace. He cries into his hands. N2: As each tear splashes onto his fingers, it turns into golden dust. N1: Midas is very thin. His skin is pale, and his hair is stringy. N2: Dionysus appears. DIONYSUS: Why are you so sad, Midas? Don’t you have your heart’s desire? MIDAS: I haven’t been able to eat a single bite. All my food has turned to gold. DIONYSUS: I warned you. MIDAS: I am cursed. DIONYSUS: I can see that. MIDAS: The hunger isn’t the worst of it. I’d gladly starve to death if it would bring my daughter back to life. N1: Dionysus looks at the statue of Marigold. MIDAS: Please save her. She didn’t do anything wrong. It’s all my fault! DIONYSUS: You have learned your lesson, Midas. So I will help you. Go swim in the river. Then everything will return to normal. N2: Midas is weak. Every step hurts. He crawls to the forest, leaving a trail of golden ground behind him. N1: At last he reaches the river and climbs in. N2: He begins to heal. He stands up, feeling stronger. N1: He wades to the side of the river and touches a twig. Then a rock. Nothing happens. MIDAS: I am free! N2: He runs back to the palace. In the garden, the roses bloom as red as before. Butterflies fly around. N1: Marigold rushes out to meet him. MARIGOLD: Father! MIDAS: Oh, forgive me! You are so precious to me. MARIGOLD: More precious than gold? MIDAS: More precious than anything. CHORUS: From that day on, Midas was a changed man. N2: He shared his gold with the people of his kingdom. CHORUS: Some say flecks of gold still sparkle in the river near the king’s palace. N1: But King Midas never went to look. CHORUS: For he never wanted to see gold again. EPILOGUE N2: So now you know the myth of King Midas. N1: Today, we have a saying based on this myth. N2: If you say that someone has “the Midas touch,” you mean that he or she is very good at making money. MIDAS: But that is not what “the Midas touch” means to me. N1: For King Midas, the golden touch was a curse. MIDAS: I was never so poor as when everything I touched turned to gold. You’ve just read “The Golden Curse.” Did you notice how King Midas changes? At the beginning of the play, he is greedy. By the end, he is unselfish. “Greedy” and “unselfish” are character traits. They describe who a character is on the inside— that is, his or her personality. WHAT TO DO: Write down the missing information below. We filled in two boxes for you. In Scene 1, what does Midas say or do that shows he is GREEDY? While counting huge piles of gold in his treasure room, Midas says, “It’s not enough! I want more!” In Scene 3, what does Midas say or do that shows he is GREEDY? In Scene 7, what does Midas say or do that shows he has become UNSELFISH? Midas says, “I’d gladly starve to death if it would bring my daughter back to life.” What else does Midas say or do in Scene 7 that shows he has become UNSELFISH?
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