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Traces of Ourselves: The Remarkable Power of Touch

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We all know the story of avaricious King Midas, who asked that everything he touched be turned to gold. Ovid recounts the myth in Book XI of his Metamorphoses, but perhaps the most compelling version is that from American author Nathaniel Hawthorne in his A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1851): King Midas has a precious young daughter, aptly named Marygold. “The more he loved his daughter, the more did he desire and seek for wealth.” A mysterious stranger appears and grants King Midas his wish.

At first, Midas is enthralled and does not seem to mind he cannot see out of his golden spectacles that have turned opaque and cannot eat the sumptuous breakfast put before him.

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