I wish . . . I hadn't
by Laurence Chilcott
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To understand that people and relationships are worth far more than wealth.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
Have you ever made a wish when you’ve blown out the candles on your birthday cake? Have they ever come true?
If I could grant you one wish, what would you wish for?
We have lots of stories about people who have been granted a wish and what happened to them when it came true. Usually things don’t work out quite as they expect.
Today our story is based on a well-known Greek myth about a king whose wish was granted, but who came to regret that it had been.
King Midas is granted a wish
Silenus the satyr (a mythical creature that is half man, half goat) was missing and Dionysus was worried about him. Unknown to Dionysus, the old satyr had wandered off and was sleeping in the garden of King Midas.
Some of King Midas’ servants found him and brought him before the King. Fortunately King Midas recognized Silenus and treated him well, returning him to Dionysus after entertaining him for several days. Dionysus was grateful to King Midas and so he said that he would grant him a wish for his kindness.
Then King Midas made his first mistake. He was already a wealthy man, but he was greedy for more, so, with a glint in his eye, he said, ‘I want anything I touch to be turned into gold.’
Dionysus felt that it would all end in tears, but granted his wish nevertheless.
Back at the palace, King Midas could not wait to put Dionysus’ promise to the test. He touched his throne, which was of finely carved wood. Brilliant – it was now pure gold and surely the finest throne in the land. No one would have anything as splendid to compare with it.
He touched his wine goblet – mere silver – and it was magically transformed into a beautiful gold one.
It wasn’t long before he had the finest golden plates, bowls and cutlery, worth more than he could ever have dreamed of. In no time at all King Midas had transformed his throne room into the richest, most wonderful golden throne room in the world.
He sat on his golden throne to admire his handiwork and imagined the envious looks of visiting kings and princes.
All this work had given him an appetite, so he reached out for a delicious-looking apple that sat in the lovely golden bowl just by his side. Before he could take his first bite, he noticed the rosy blush changing colour. He’d heard of Golden Delicious, but this was ridiculous! The apple had turned to pure gold and was now for display only!
What was he to do? Could he be fed by his servants perhaps? Surely touching things in his mouth or throat wouldn’t turn things to gold – he certainly hoped not.
As he sat worrying and pondering over this turn of events, his daughter entered the room. She stood at the door, mouth wide open in amazement at the transformation she witnessed. To King Midas, his daughter was the most precious thing in his life and, as usual, he leapt up off his throne to embrace her.
Too late he realized what he had done. Her warm, soft body suddenly became cold and hard; her smile became strangely fixed on her beautiful face. She, too, had been turned into gold!
How King Midas wept. He realized that his daughter meant more to him than all the gold in the world. He realized his greed had blinded him to things that were of real value and he bitterly regretted that his wish had been granted.
Ashamed and chastened by his actions, he went back to Dionysus and begged for the wish to be cancelled and everything returned to how it was before. Fortunately, Dionysus agreed and King Midas had his daughter back.
He had learnt an important lesson and now understood that there are many more important things than money and gold.
Time for reflection
It is often thought that money is the answer to all our problems and worries, but what are the things that money cannot buy? It cannot buy health, friends, ability in sport or schoolwork and so on.
Consider some of the possible consequences of great wealth, such as the envy and jealousy of others; fear of false friends; worry about burglary or ransom demands; unwanted loss of privacy; lack of purpose in life.
King Solomon prayed for wisdom to rule his people and gained great wealth, too. Jesus said, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth’ (Matthew 6.18–20, NIV).
Help us today to appreciate the things that are important in life – our health, our food, our families and friends and people who love and care for us.
Help us, too, to understand that we are important to you, so may we try to please you in the way we behave today.
‘Iwill bring to you the best gift I can offer’ (Come and Praise, 59)