The King touched his daughter’s hair again, in his usual way, to reassure her. She became more radiant each time he did. That morning, five thousand suitors had laid siege to their home in Phrygia. It was the Princess’ eighteenth birthday.
The Princess spent her days veiled and curtained in ornate suites. She swam in a heated pool and tended to a greenhouse garden populated by Earth’s rarest flowers. But she was all alone. Women had been banished from court for fear they would harm her. Men, for fear they’d seduce her.
In response to her pleas, her father offered a cold warning about evil in the world. “My dear, you are afflicted with indescribable beauty. Learn to love the lonely hours.”
Later that night, the crowds were still chanting her name. All the palace guards were stationed at the outer gates. Advisors suggested moving the Princess to a safer location. But no amount of persuasion would change the King’s mind.
Sensing she was not being watched, the Princess slipped out of her room and ducked into a cupboard. Through the service corridors she ran, finally reaching an exit door. It was almost dawn.
As she hurried to the clearing, she tripped, fell and hit her head on a stone. She lost consciousness and slowly bled on some leaves. When she woke, she felt very heavy but managed to look down at her legs. She could see that they had changed into beautiful golden casts.
Midas | SB
Image credit: Sculpture via pictography