The first Celtic influence is the tree under which Heurodis falls asleep and meets the Fairy King.
``Þai sett hem doun al þreBeing stolen away from under a tree, often an apple tree, by fairies has been a long part of Celtic mythology and is used in other Breton lays. Kittredge in his work on Sir Orfeo mentions several uses of this motif, such as Chestre's Launfal where the hero sees two fairy maidens approaching while sitting under a tree, Tam Lane being taken by the fairies while asleep under an apple tree and Thomas of Erceldoune seeing the fairy queen while lying under an apple tree[+]. Likewise in the Breton lay Sir Degaré the lady meets with the fairy under a chestnut tree[+].
Under a fair ympe-tre,''[+]
This garden in which Heurodis goes to play is also a medieval reworking of the initial classical setting. Heurodis goes
``To play bi an orchard-side,This word ``orchard-side'' is repeated again at line 134, and she describes it as ``our owhen orchard'' at line 163. The use of orchard gives the impression of the medieval walled garden as is so common in the romances. It is the King's private orchard, where his lady and her hand maidens can go and ``play'', theoretically safely but in this case not so. This is a transformation of the original field in which Eurydice gets killed into a more familiar setting for the medieval audience.
To see the floures sprede & spring''[+]
It is also significant that the action takes place in May. The May opening topos is a very familiar one in Middle English and French romances, both long and short. Adventures seem to befall characters in Spring after they have been cooped up inside their lodgings over Winter. The poet starts the action of the work with the following lines:
``Bifel so in þe comessing of MayThe queen going into her garden to play with her maidens in May would seem very familiar to the audience, they know they are going to hear a good Arthurian tale.
(When miri & hot is þe day,
& o-way beþ winter-schours...''[+]
Heurodis after being visited by the Fairy King while asleep under the tree tears her face with her nails, giving an opportunity for the author to use another two very influential topoi from medieval romance; the `milk and roses' ideal complexion for women, and the `world upside-down' topos. The most general description of a beautiful maiden in medieval romance is with pale skin and red cheeks and lips. Heurodis starts off looking like this, but after her vision is the exact opposite. Her once pale skin runs with red blood, and her cheeks are wan and pale. Orfeo gives this description at lines 105 to 110,
``Þi bodi, þat was so white y-core,The use of these common topoi add to the familiarity the audience feels about the text, while still being interesting and novel uses of standard descriptions.
Wiþ þine nailes is al to-tore.
Allas! þi rode, þat was so red,
Is al wan, as þou were ded;
& al-so þine fingres smale
Beþ al blodi & al pale.''[+]