Touch of the greed

in writing •  4 months ago


You've probably heard of Midas, one of the greatest Phrygian kings ever. Long before Trojan war, when the Phrygians migrated from the Balkans, his father Gordias had founded his city.

Although he was a ruler, he wanted his child to be raised as Gordias was raised. Midas was living in a palace which had many chambers, but his father didn't let him live a lavish life all the other rulers lived. Instead of relaxing in the baths, Midas had to work in the fields. When the season of festivals came, Midas had to serve guests of his father.
He was charming and intelligent. Many people liked him, but he didn't feel respected by the proud noblemen who were visiting the festivals each year. Many of the noblemen even mocked him in their subtle way.

Although he was rich, he didn't feel rich. Midas knew that all the money he spent is his father's money. When his father died, he inherited the whole Phrygia. The country had grown very prosperous since the great migration of his people. Many cities have risen from the dust of the Anatolian deserts. People were much wealthier than they used to be. Yet Midas wasn't satisfied.

His treasury was full of golden coins, but the noblity called him "the poor king". Of course it felt humilliatibg for Midas, so he decided to change things. He wanted to become the richest king that ever lived.
As he had the best teachers in kingdom, he knew quite a lot about economy. He was given an opportunity to raise taxes as the people were wealthy. He did this, after only a few months his wealth doubled. He was still unsatisfied with the amount of gold he had in his treasury.

He could have a bath in his gold and he wanted more. One day, a prince from the west was traveling through his kingdom. When he saw beautiful roses in the gardens of the palace, he immediately went to see the ruler of the city. When he entered his vast palace Midas has made him his guest. After residing a few days in the palace of Midas, he saw his beautiful daughter. Young prince instantly fell in love and asked Midas for the hand of his daughter. He promised to give Midas as much gold as he wished for. Midas and young prince reached an agreement quickly. Midas would let his daughter marry him if young prince gave him the weight of his daughter in gold.

After a month, a young prince came back with the gold and took the daughter as his wife. Meanwhile Midas started organizing lavish festivals in his city so he could show the whole kingdom his wealth.
When the nobles came, they had a lot of things to see. Great golden statues were standing at the entrance of the city and the palace. At the king's court various musicians, dancers fighters and artists were entertaining the richest men in the country. The palace looked like heaven, but everything outside looked like hell.

Having his population taxed for too long, people started committing various crimes. Disgruntled by the state of affairs, some citizens have joined up in order to overthrow the tyrant and left the cities so they could form an army. Meanwhile the king was sitting on his throne. He was proud of himself. He finally proved that he wasn't a poor king. Many of the nobles, commanders and the soothsayers were fighting for king's attention.

In the next few days many nobles were residing in the king's city so they could make Midas like them more. One of these days came another noble. He was the king of Lydia. Having a great wish to see the rich king, he entered the palace. "I am the richest king in the world, Midas is my name", the king said, "tell me who are you!"

"My name is not important at the moment", the Lydian king replied, "you are the richest king, but are you the greatest?" Midas stood confused: "certainly, look at my treasury!"

"I thought that you are smart", Lydian said, "obviously you forgot that being rich doesn't mean being great. Look around you, how many people love you, and how many would if you were poor?"
The Lydian king left the palace leaving Midas speechless. For a few days Midas was observing his subjects. Many of them were loyal to him only because he was rich, and he realized that the most honest ones were the rebels. When he went to sleep he felt so lonely. He found out that having nobody was far worse than having nothing.

The next day he wrote a letter to his daughter to say how much he missed her. In order to fix his mistakes, Midas revoked the tax he issued. Of course nobles tried to convince him not to do so in order to get themselves some gold. After a week came the caravan from the west. The caravan master asked if he was Midas, the father of the western princess. When he said yes, a large chariot covered with silk was brought to him. "This is for you", said the caravan master. When he approached, he took the silk off, and then he saw the golden statue of his daughter. Immediately he fell on his knees.

In tears he shouted his own name, feeling fooled by his own mind, he ordered the gold from his treasury to be distributed evenly to all the inhabitants of his kingdom. Tons of gold were taken from his treasury that day, yet he kept the statue as a reminder of the horrible things he did. This move infuriated the nobility as they expected more, but the king was strict. The nobles started banding up to overthrow the king as he couldn't pay the soldiers to protect him. In a few days, his realm was torn apart by ravaging armies. Midas threw away everything he had, but he gained an unexpected ally. The army of rebels heard what Midas did. They knew that the civil war started, and that the nobles would kill each other after eliminating the king so they sided with the man whom they wanted to defeat.

The nobles didn't expect to fight such a large army. They surrendered and were taken prisoners. The king wanted to execute traitors, but he came up with a better idea. All their wealth was given to the people as a reward for supporting their king even when he made mistakes.

When the war finished, the Lydian king came to midas again. "I have nothing for you, why have you come?", Midas asked. "I just wanted to say who I am, your daughter asked me for help", Lydian king replied, "we are kin, both your and my house came from the same village. I am Numas, Lydian king. When you sold your daughter, she wrote to me. I supported the rebels while you were having fun, I tried to convince you to leave greed to the dogs which tried to bring you down, and your daughter, I asked her to be silent while this is happening, now take this, she wrote it to you."

Midas opened the letter, after reading it he fell on his knees again. He knew his daughter was happy, the man who married her was a good and loyal husband who treated her as his queen. In addition, he allowed Midas to come and visit his daughter whenever he wanted. Midas thanked the Lydian king for everything he did for him.

The king who had everything could lose it all, fortunately his loved ones were beside him even when he thought he lost them. Taught by his mistakes, Midas had a long and rightful reign and was remembered as the greatest king of Phrygia.

This is my original work, copyright restricted.
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