As we all know, King Midas wished that everything he touched would turn to gold - his wish was granted by the god Dionyssus. This proved to be his undoing. He couldn't eat because his food turned to gold.

We know from the myth that he was still able to breathe and bathe so we can assume that only solids are affected by his touch.

KM's advisors have found a way to feed him. They use a flexible gold tube to introduce liquidised mush directly into his stomach. The sages are not sure why this works (a) maybe he is fine because the food is liquidised and therefore not solid or (b) stomach acid and mucus prevent the food from touching his skin directly and so he is able to digest it.

They also make him bedding, clothes, shoes and gloves of finely-spun gold so that he never needs to touch anything solid directly.

I think he can now continue to live but am I right? Is there something I have missed that will make his survival impossible? Or is there always a way around it?

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    $\begingroup$ In the versions I was told it was every thing that he touched including drink. It also seems like this question hinges on what it means to actually touch something and how we distinguish between things. For instance you seem to be treating the contents of the stomach, acids and mucus as somehow distinct from Midas. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Since his skin is no longer getting much sunlight, he will need to consume mush that is rich in Vitamin D to avoid rickets and osteoporosis. He'll need strong bones to lug around that heavy suit! However, his treasury will be significantly increased each time he uses his heavy golden chamberpot. His unwashed hair will be quite a mess. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ It isn't enough, but the reason is sufficiently unpleasant that I don't feel like I need to make an answer about it. Two words for you: gold colostomy. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ After a few weeks or months, he'd crash the gold market in his region and soon not be king any more. $\endgroup$
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ @FuzzyChef Actually king Midas was Greek which means his people used the silver standard. By crashing the gold market he would actually put Persia at a huge economic disadvantage making him very popular with his own people... Though it might move up the time table on the first Greco-Persian war. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:00

4 Answers 4


Animal bites and stings are a big risk:

  • bees, wasps and mosquitoes would turn into thin golden needles stuck in his skin,
  • cats happening to pounce him would turn into golden blades carving his skin
  • dogs biting him would become stuck in the bite
  • accidentally stepping on a sea urchin would gift him with dozens of golden needles

Also his private life would be affected: he will need to kiss farewell to any physical contact, no matter how intimate.

Going out will become a risk: anything or anybody falling or hitting him will become a golden burden. Falling twigs, sand blown by the wind, birds dropping...

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    $\begingroup$ "he will need to kiss farewell to any physical contact" - will he? Gold is notorious for its malleability, could he not don a custom-fitted, gold-leaf covered body-condom? $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, yeah he could just wear golden armor all the time. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think there's a lot of carving as the cat's nails aren't able to make a dent before turning into gold. It will hurt, though, depending on the speed and weight of the cat. Which makes me wonder about rain... $\endgroup$
    – Joachim
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 14:01

As a monarch he would still be as, if not more, susceptible to attacks. For example a villager with a wooden club becomes a villager with a block of gold, making attacks more brutal. Why spend money on arrows when wooden ones will do the trick?

With more people wanting to get close to him for monetary reasons, increases chance of infection, disease, virus, plague, etc.

Any injury from smallest to the biggest has a higher chance of death.

  • scrap: can't bandage it (either get golden bracelet or a curved golden piece that doesn't stick) so open wound has increase risk of infection
  • broken bones from fall: can't brace it (how would you remove solid gold brace?), moving becomes difficult without risk of aggravating injury
  • vision? if his vision goes would whole glasses transform or just the frames? (risk of missing step, threat, friendly)

Something else to consider that while it may not be a detriment to living maybe a concern is when he has to go to the loo, does he have a bidet?

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    $\begingroup$ Can he be infected? Would viruses not turn to gold? Maybe that is its own problem. He breathes in COVID and drowns in gold. Yikes. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:29

You'll have trouble in the long run

You've managed to feed King Midas. Great. Now what comes next?

There are two options: either the material he excretes is susceptible turned to gold, in which case he is due for a very hard time on his golden throne ... or it isn't, which means it counts as part of King Midas and will continue turning anything it touches to gold. The second seems more likely since I don't think his tears, etc. turn to gold (otherwise can he see?)

This means you now have a Golden Toxic Waste Dump in which you carefully deposit excreted substances. Either that or you make Golden Landmines out of them to kill enemy troops, with the caveat that I'm not quite sure why they or Midas' footsteps don't convert "The Earth" to gold, or at least a contiguous rocky part of it.


Aqua Regia

I am not sure exactly how he would use it, but I think Midas would have some use for aqua regia, a.k.a. Royal Water, one of the few things that can dissolve gold.

Perhaps his servants would keep spray bottles of it on hand for emergencies.

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    $\begingroup$ Aqua regia is also more than capable of dissolving kings, so I'm not sure how useful it would be. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ Ahh yes. I forgot about that detail. Maybe the sages can develop something that only dissolves gold. Aqua Handwavia $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:47

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