In the medieval Irish tale called "The Elopement of Muirne and Dub Roi," Muirne goes mad when she tastes the blood of her father, who was killed in battle. She roams the wilderness, wears rags, lets her hair grow to her feet and her nails grow into claws, lives on raw meat, and howls like a wolf. She becomes such a danger to passing travelers that her relatives send the harper Dub Roi to see if can soothe her madness. He attracts her by playing his harp, and as she approaches he undresses and lies naked on his back:
A glance she gave, she saw his nakedness and his playthings and said, "What are these?"Between the trick of the branch, music, and cooked food (the cooking of which, in a boiling pit, is described at great length), Muirne is cured of her madness, marries Dub Roi, and returns to civilization.
"My little eggs," he answered.
"What is this?" she asked of the other thing she saw.
"That is the branch of the trick," he said.
"Branch of the trick?" she said. "What is the trick?"
"Sit beside me," he said, "and I will perform the trick of that branch for you."
"I will," she said, "and stay beside me."
"I will," he said.
He lay with her and she said, "Ho, ho, a good trick, do it again!"
"I will," he said, "but I will play the harp for you first."
"Never mind the harp," she said, "but do the trick again."
Part II. The Gorse Bush
In many of the most ancient Irish stories the hero meets a beautiful woman from the other world who marries or lies with him. These women seem sometimes to represent kingship, or the right to rule Ireland, and they are called "sovereignty goddesses." They go by many names, sometimes more than one in the same story. One of these names, attested in three different stories, is Eithne aitenchaetrach. The bearers of this name are sexually very aggressive even for old Irish stories. The name translates "Eithne gorse bush," which my rather genteel text glosses as "with gorse (coloured) pubic hair." Since gorse is better known for being large and thorny than any particular color, I have a feeling that something else is intended.