Although in Real Life
, donkeys are quite effective in pulling wagons, in media, the donkeys pulling the cart are often stubborn and unreliable, and don't want to. Of course, it doesn't have to involve carts.
- The stars of the Gasoline Alley comic strip, junkmen Joel and Rufus, ride around between disasters on a cart pulled (when she's in a good mood) by Becky, the mule.
- Patton. During the invasion of Sicily a pair of mules pulling a wagon refuse to move, blocking a bridge and causing a column of American troops to be strafed. Patton shoots the mules and has them dumped over the side of the bridge, allowing the column to continue.
- In Der Schuh des Manitu (an underrated and troperrific German comedy gem) while the Greek talks about how clever his donkey, Plato, is, he steps the rails, refuses to move and gets killed by an express.
- The original Aesop had a fable centering around one of these. It had to carry a load of salt, accidentally fell in the river, the load dissolved, no more heavy weight. Next trip it threw itself into the river on purpose. The master got annoyed and had it carry a bunch of sponges (or salt) on the third trip. It threw itself into the river again, only to find that sponges/salt get heavier when wet. Don't remember what the moral was.
- Bad Ass, Lancre was named for the fact that a donkey got stubborn there. The village was founded by the people riding in the wagon it was pulling. Now Lancrians have to explain it to everybody.
- Interesting trivia from the American West. The Mormons once had a member of their leadership named J. Golden Kimbell, who was infamously known as The Swearing Apostle. His excuse? As a young man he had worked as a mule driver. "And as everyone knows, mules are twice as stubborn as any other creature on earth. And these were Church-owned mules! Church-owned mules are ten times as stubborn as ordinary mules. You had to blister them with the coarsest oaths known to man for over two hours just to get them to move ten feet. I was the best mule driver in camp, and my language showed it. I've improved a lot since then." "I am sorry about my swearing, but it is the only language animals understand. Mules and horses never respond unless you swear at them." When asked for his thoughts on mules: "There's one thing I've never been able to figure out. How Noah got two of those sons of bitches on the ark!" Since his voice sounded something like Dudley Do Right the effect was rather humorous, and false J. Golden stories have been passed around the Mountain West ever since.
- The Bible - a prophet being hired out to curse the Israelites struggles with a stubborn mule, until the mule is granted the ability to speak and reveals that the mule was trying to protect her master from a vengeful angel.
- In Red Dead Redemption, while travelling through Mexico, you'll occasionally encounter a peasant leading his donkey down the road who loudly and repeatedly curses the beast in Spanish.