Lucius is a young man who is obsessed with magic. In attempting to perform a spell, Lucius inadvertently transforms himself into an ass. His long and arduous journey is ornately illustrated by Apuleius' witty, imaginative, and often explicit language, in a series of subplots that carry the reader through to Lucius' salvation by the goddess Isis. These include the stories of Cupid and Psyche, Aristomenes, Thelyphron and others. The novel reflects Apuleius' own fascination with magic and the occult, and although comical at times, contains very serious messages about impiety towards the gods, and the risks of tampering with the supernatural.