King Midas and the Golden Touch

by Charlotte Craft and illustrated by K Y Craft (Harper Collins Publishers 1999)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other

recommended and many different version available - maybe a copy in your local library


Charlotte presents an interesting version about the legend of King Midas. Midas was the most important king of Phrygia. He has appeared in many legends written by both Greek and Roman authors. He may not have been very wise. But, as the legend goes, he did rescue a drunken Silenus, the favourite companion of Dionysos. Dionysos wanted to thank Midas for treating his companion well. So he granted Midas one wish. Midas chose, despite the advice of Dionysos, the ability of changing everything in gold by a simple touch, a gift Midas thought would certainly make him happy.

This powerful story for all ages to enjoy and share together contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  •     nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  •    challenges existing stereotyping

  •     faith and hope

  •     peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     … element that supports the idea that peace is possible

Midas proudly went around his palace and changed everything he touched into gold, including his palace gates, believing his gift was a good one. But soon he became hungry and thirsty but unfortunately everything including h

is food, drink and his much beloved daughter changed into gold before him. His servants tried to feed him but this didn’t help. Appreciating by this time his wish may not have been the wisest one he could have chosen, Midas pleaded with Dionysos to return his life to normal. Fortunately for Midas, Dionysos cured him.

Critical questions to explore with children 

  • Why did the stranger want to reward Midas?
  • What did Midas wish for?
  • What did Midas do with his gift?
  • What unfortunately happened that distressed Midas?
  • What did Midas wish for a second time?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children 

  • What kind of king was Midas?
  • What gift would you wish for?
  • What gift would you grant for the world’s people?
  • Why is gold so highly valued?
  • How could Midas have kept his gift and created good with it?
  • How else could the story have ended with win-win?

© Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation February 2005

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