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Most historians believe this Midas is the same person as the Mita , called king of the Mushki in Assyrian texts, who warred with Assyria and its Anatolian provinces during the same period.
A third Midas is said by Herodotus to have been a member of the royal house of Phrygia and the grandfather of an Adrastus who fled Phrygia after accidentally killing his brother and took asylum in Lydia during the reign of Croesus.
Phrygia was by that time a Lydian subject. Herodotus says that Croesus regarded the Phrygian royal house as "friends" but does not mention whether the Phrygian royal house still ruled as vassal kings of Phrygia.
There are many, and often contradictory, legends about the most ancient King Midas. In one, Midas was king of Pessinus , a city of Phrygia , who as a child was adopted by King Gordias and Cybele , the goddess whose consort he was, and who by some accounts was the goddess-mother of Midas himself.
According to other accounts he had a son Anchurus. Arrian gives an alternative story of the descent and life of Midas.
According to him, Midas was the son of Gordios, a poor peasant, and a Telmissian maiden of the prophetic race. When Midas grew up to be a handsome and valiant man, the Phrygians were harassed by civil discord, and consulting the oracle, they were told that a wagon would bring them a king, who would put an end to their discord.
While they were still deliberating, Midas arrived with his father and mother, and stopped near the assembly, wagon and all.
They, comparing the oracular response with this occurrence, decided that this was the person whom the god told them the wagon would bring.
In addition to this the following saying was current concerning the wagon, that whosoever could loosen the cord of the yoke of this wagon, was destined to gain the rule of Asia.
This someone was to be Alexander the Great. Herodotus said that a "Midas son of Gordias" made an offering to the Oracle of Delphi of a royal throne "from which he made judgments" that were "well worth seeing", and that this Midas was the only foreigner to make an offering to Delphi before Gyges of Lydia.
However, some historians believe that this throne was donated by the later, historical King Midas. One day, as Ovid relates in Metamorphoses XI,  Dionysus found that his old schoolmaster and foster father, the satyr Silenus , was missing.
Midas recognized him and treated him hospitably, entertaining him for ten days and nights with politeness, while Silenus delighted Midas and his friends with stories and songs.
Dionysus offered Midas his choice of whatever reward he wished for. Midas asked that whatever he might touch should be changed into gold.
Midas rejoiced in his new power, which he hastened to put to the test. He touched an oak twig and a stone; both turned to gold.
Overjoyed, as soon as he got home, he touched every rose in the rose garden, and all became gold. He ordered the servants to set a feast on the table.
Upon discovering how even the food and drink turned into gold in his hands, he regretted his wish and cursed it. Claudian states in his In Rufinum: In a version told by Nathaniel Hawthorne in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys , Midas' daughter came to him, upset about the roses that had lost their fragrance and become hard, and when he reached out to comfort her, found that when he touched his daughter, she turned to gold as well.
Now, Midas hated the gift he had coveted. He prayed to Dionysus, begging to be delivered from starvation. Dionysus heard his prayer, and consented; telling Midas to wash in the river Pactolus.
Then, whatever he put into the water would be reversed of the touch. Midas did so, and when he touched the waters, the power flowed into the river, and the river sands turned into gold.
This explained why the river Pactolus was so rich in gold, and the wealth of the dynasty claiming Midas as its forefather no doubt the impetus for this origin myth.
Gold was perhaps not the only metallic source of Midas' riches: Midas, now hating wealth and splendor, moved to the country and became a worshipper of Pan , the god of the fields and satyrs.
Once, Pan had the audacity to compare his music with that of Apollo , and challenged Apollo to a trial of skill also see Marsyas.
Tmolus , the mountain-god, was chosen as umpire. Pan blew on his pipes and, with his rustic melody, gave great satisfaction to himself and his faithful follower, Midas, who happened to be present.
Then Apollo struck the strings of his lyre. Tmolus at once awarded the victory to Apollo, and all but one agreed with the judgment.
Midas dissented, and questioned the justice of the award. Apollo would not suffer such a depraved pair of ears any longer, and said "Must have ears of an ass!
Midas was mortified at this mishap. He attempted to hide his misfortune under an ample turban or headdress, but his barber of course knew the secret, so was told not to mention it.
However, the barber could not keep the secret. He went out into the meadow, dug a hole in the ground, whispered the story into it, then covered the hole up.
A thick bed of reeds later sprang up in the meadow, and began whispering the story, saying "King Midas has an ass' ears".