Androcles was a Greek slave who spent his days caring for the very lions that his fellow slaves were thrown to please the sadistic whims of a tyrannical Emperor. Androcles' friend Lycopheus dreams of escaping to freedom, but Androcles is too frightened to try -- until one day when Androcles (with the advice of the god Hermes) decides to enter the cage of a sickly lion to try to help the poor creature. When the lion escapes, the chaos that follows allows Androcles and Lycopheus to escape. As they are pursued by soldiers into the forest, Lycopheus is bitten by a snake, and Androcles finds himself alone, facing the gaping jaws of the very lion that escaped. But instead of attacking Androcles, the beast collapses in his arms. Androcles discovers a huge thorn in its paw and removes it freeing the lion from his suffering. Soon after, Androcles is re-united with Lycopheus who is near death from the snakebite. To save his friend, Androcles must overcome his fears and learn to survive in the dangerous woods. Following the ways of the lion, he gains newfound confidence and skill and is able to nurse his friend back to health. But then the soldiers return and Lycopheus is recaptured. Now it's up to Androcles alone to free his fellow slaves. And he succeeds with help from a most unexpected ally. For in the end, when Androcles is thrown to the lions, the beast he faces turns out to be the very lion Androcles saved. Returning the favor, the lion submits to Androcles and licks his hand. Seeing this, the people become fearful that it is an omen from the gods and Androcles is able to convince the Emperor to free his fellow slaves.