A long time ago in the distant land of Priam, there lived a man, Midas. His wife was not very beautiful, but she was virtuous and bore him many sons and daughters. While every life has its joys and sufferings, Midas had lived better than many others, and considered himself very fortunate. His many children had spread far and wide throughout Priam, acquiring much glory and fame in the process for their family. They all looked to the future with great optimism and confidence. Midas, too, looked forward to the higher heights of fortune his children’s work promised to bring. With his vast wealth, accrued over many years, he attracted many persons to him, as moths are attracted to the heat of the Sun.
One such person caught his attention in the city one day. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen was sitting with a lute, singing a song honoring his accomplishments. She stared directly into his eyes, and he was enamoured instantly. He brought the woman, Techne, back to his home as a treasured concubine. Ignoring his jealous wife, he spent more and more of his time in the thrall of Techne. She had all manner of talents; music, poetry, fine art, pottery. She amazed him every day by revealing yet more wondrous feats of prowess and ability.
It had been weeks since he had seen his wife or any of his children. Feeling guilty, he left the abode of Techne to see his wife. When he arrived, he found that she was in a grave state of unhealth. She had become fat, and she could only move from her bed with the assistance of her servants. When Midas asked what had happened, it was revealed that Techne had planted an incredible garden that had been feeding all the family and servants in the house. The plants had miraculous growth and tasted sweeter than any that could be bought at the market in the city. His children still seemed lively and fit, so he forgave his wife her grotesque state and returned to Techne.
More time went by with Midas thoroughly hypnotized by Techne’s godlike talents. Whenever he could summon the will, he would leave her for a time and check on his family. Soon he found that his children had been changed as well. His young sons were always smoking the flowers from a field that Techne had planted, being uninterested in leaving the home and succumbing to their own laziness. His daughters had followed their mother, becoming fat and unproductive. He tried to get his sons to leave the home, but they became angry and withdrawn. His daughters would not leave either, and refused to marry the suitors he had found for them, citing their nervous anxiety as the cause. Midas soon found himself vexed by their disobedience, and he grew impatient to return to Techne.
It became clear to Midas, after months of time had passed, that Techne was sterile. She could bear no sons or daughters, and his time spent with her was in vain. The world continued spinning around him, but his gaze was always fixed on her.
When the governor of the area began to wonder what had happened to this great man who was his subject, he went to the estate of Midas to inquire. Nobody had seen Midas in a year, nor his younger sons, nor his younger daughters, nor his servants. Upon arriving, they were greeted with a disturbing sight. Everyone living there was stuck in a trance. They all laid in their beds, unmoving, with their eyes unfocused. The woman, Techne, would administer food to each of them periodically, for they could neither act nor think on their own. The life had eroded from their bodies. Though their hearts still beat and they still ate and drank, they were dead. Their will had dissolved. Their souls had been consumed by the siren who now was the sole inhabitant of the home.
The governor thought to attack and destroy her, but he too came under her spell when he looked into her eyes.