Apollo the Musician
(Myths of Greece and Rome)
It is said that on a certain occasion Pan had the temerity to compare his music with that of Apollo and to challenge the god of the lyre to a trial of skill.
The challenge was accepted, and Tmolus, the mountain-god, was chosen umpire.
The senior took his seat and cleared away the trees from his ears to listen.
At a given signal 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 Tmolus turned his head toward the sun-god, and all his trees turned with him.
Apollo rose, his brow wreathed with Parnassian Laurel, while his robe of Tyrian purple swept the ground.
In his left hand he held the lyre and with his right hand struck the strings.
Tmolus at once awarded the victory to the lyric god, and all but Midas acquiesced in the judgment.
He dissented and questioned the justice of the award.
Apollo promptly transformed his depraved pair of ears into those of an ass.
King Midas tried to hide his misfortune under an ample turban.
But his hair-dresser found it too much for his discretion to keep such a secret; he dug a hole in the ground and, stooping down, whispered the story, and covered it up.
But a thick bed of reeds springing up in the meadow began whispering the story, and has continued to do so from that day to this, every time a breeze passes over the place.