In all of literature, there are few books with the vitality of The Golden Ass. Boccaccio borrowed freely from it; later it served to amuse and instruct Cervantes, Henry Fielding, and Tobias George Smoollett. T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, carried it with him in his saddlebags all through the Arab Revolt, and it was Lawrence who first introduced the book to his friend Robert Graves.
The story follows Lucius, a young man of good birth, as he disports himself in the cities and along the roads of Thessaly. He encounters many diverting and strange adventures, not the least of which occurs when he betrays a priestess of the White Goddess -- for his offense, he suffers the indignity of being turned into an ass. How Lucius supports his misfortune and contrives at last to appease the goddess and resume his human form make up the body of this tale abounding in lusty incident, curious adventure, and bawdy wit.