Another version of Melampus' story:
When the women of Argos were driven mad by Dionysus, in the reign of Anaxagoras or possibly Proetus, Melampus was brought in to cure them, but demanded a third of the kingdom as payment. The king refused, but the women became wilder than ever, and he was forced to seek out Melampus again, who this time demanded both a third for himself and another third for his brother Bias. The king felt he had no choice but to agree, and so Melampus lead them to the city of Lusi where they were healed of their madness in a sanctuary of Artemis.
Melampodus' reputation as a seer spawned myths that verge on anecdote, to account for his gift, the offering of serpents. In one, as a young boy, he told his servants not to kill two snakes. Grateful, the snakes gave Melampus the ability to speak with animals.
Another version says that he found a mother snake that had been crushed under a cart and two orphaned babies. Rather than leaving them he gave the snake a burial and raised the young ones. To thank him they licked his ears so that he was able to understand animals.
After this there were three kings ruling Argos at any time, one descended from each of Bias, Melampus, and Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus, who fought in the Trojan War.
Late in his life, Melampus was kidnapped. In his cell, he overheard two termites talking, claiming they would be finished eating through Melampus' ceiling the next morning. Melampus called his captors and demanded a move. He made such an uproar that the kidnappers agreed. When the ceiling collapsed the next morning, the kidnappers decided he was a prophet and that to hold on to him might offend the gods. They let him go.
Melampus is also found in the tale of King Midas, in this narrative the pleasure-loving King of Macedonia. He was chosen to be a judge between the famous musical contest between Apollo and Marsyas. Although Apollo clearly had won, he disagreed with the other judges. Apollo called the King an ass, and to prove his point he touched him on the head and gave Midas the ears of a donkey. Long and hairy they sprouted up, and Midas in a panic covered them up with a tall Phrygian cap, hoping nobody ever discovered his embarrassing secret. Only his barber knew of this disgraceful matter, but Midas had warned him that he would be put to death if ever he revealed to anyone the asinine state of the King's ears. The barber found himself bursting with the secret and couldn't bear to keep the gossip to himself, but was afraid for his life. So he dug a hole in the bank of the Pactolus river and, after making certain that nobody was listening, he whispered into the hole that "King Midas has an ass's ears." Filling up the hole to forever bury the secret, the barber went away happy and at peace with himself. All was well until the next spring, when a reed sprouted up from the hole and whispered to the other reeds that King Midas had the ears of a donkey. These reeds in turn whispered the secret to all creatures who passed. Soon the birds learned the news and brought it Melampus. Melampus told all his friends and soon the entire kingdom knew about King Midas' miserable secret.
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