In Greek mythology, Midas was the name of the king in a region that is known as Turkey. He was known for his greed and foolishness. In this story, Midas is foolish enough not to choose the God of music as the winner of a music contest.
A long time ago, Pan, the God of shepherds was heard boasting to Apollo, the god of music. “I am a better musician than you.” I can produce a more beautiful melody with my flute than you can with your silly harp. Apollo insisted Pan. Apollo of course disagreed.
“We will see. Let us hold a competition to settle this argument once and for all.” Said Apollo. And the two agreed on a music competition. King Midas was asked to be the judge of the competition.
The gods began to play, Apollo had his lyre, a stringed instrument something like a harp, while Pan had his thin reed pipe. In the end, Midas because he was friends with the shepherds, voted for Pan. Apollo was furious. “How dare this hairy-legged satyr beat the god of music at his own art?
“You, Midas have no taste!” cried Apollo. “You must have the ears of a donkey if you think a shepherd is better than me!
“I see the problem. It’s your ears. They are too small to hear properly. Let me fix that for you.” Also read King Bruce And The Spider Short Story With A Lesson
The next moment, King Midas felt his ears quiver. His ears sprang out, and out and turned into large furry ears of a donkey. The king was horrified. “how can I appear before my people with these big donkey ears? What would the King of other lands say when they see my ears?” he wailed.
Midas grabbed his ears and ran back inside the palace. From that day forward went about wearing huge hats, heavy helmets, and bulky scarves. His people and the King of other lands often remarked on it.
“Where did King Midas get those strange hats, and why does he insist on wearing one all the time?”
Nobody knew the truth except for Midas himself- and one other person. Like any other man, Midas had hair, and like any other man’s hair, it needed to be cut. Midas called for the royal barber, and when he was sure they were totally alone he removed his headgear. And the barber learned the secret of the king’s long ears!
“Promise you will never tell anyone about my ears.” said Midas. “or I shall have you beheaded.”
The royal barber kept his word for a while. But it was too big a secret for him to keep for long. It was driving him crazy. He was craving to tell someone. He just had to! However, he had promised his king not to tell anyone.
Finally, the barber couldn’t hold it in any longer. He went out into the field, dug a hole in the soil, and whispered into it. “King Midas has donkey’s ears.”
He had kept his promise by not telling any other person the secret, and yet thrown it off his chest. He felt much better. He returned home, sure that no one had heard him.
Time passed and reeds grew over the place where the barber had dug a hole and spelt out the secret. The reeds scattered all over the mountainous kingdom. The reeds that grew were the reeds of echo.
You’ve heard of echo, right?
When the wind blew through them, you could hear them sighing. And imagine the king’s surprise when, as the reeds and grasses of the meadow whispered in the breeze, they spoke these words:
“King Midas has Donkey’s ears…. King Midas has Donkey’s ears…”
“Sound travels well in the mountains, even whispers. And it was long before the entire kingdom knew the king’s secret!