In a fascinating Ted Ed lesson written by PhD candidate Iseult Gillespi and animated by Jeremiah Dickey, narrator Addison Anderson tells the full story of the myth of King Midas and his golden touch that includes the lesser known part when the god Apollo gave King Midas the ears of an ass (donkey) after the king praised Pan’s music over Apollo’s. Midas was able to keep his long ears a secret however, his barber couldn’t and screamed the secret into the earth, which was then carried by the wind.
Midas blundered again, insulting the music and sun god Apollo when he declared Pan a greater musician. Apollo scornfully declared that the king must have the ears of an ass to make such a misjudgment, and transformed Midas accordingly. Once again regretting his behavior, Midas kept his hairy ears hidden in public. They were seen only by his barber, who was sworn to secrecy during a very awkward grooming session.