Silenus, Bacchus’s tutor, was left behind by the god of wine’s retinue; King Midas found him and took him back. In gratitude Bacchus agreed to fulfil Midas’s wish: everything that he touched turned to gold. Even food was transformed—and Midas had to starve. He implored Bacchus to free him from this fatal gift. The painting shows the scene at the beginning of the tale: Midas is telling Bacchus of his wish. In the background on the right the outcome can be seen: Midas is washing himself in the River Pactolus that from then on was a stream of gold.