Omeganian on Jun 21st 2018 at 10:11:04 PM
Last Edited By:
Omeganian on Dec 7th 2018 at 11:13:17 AM
Page Type: trope
A man sells an animal - classically, a horse. And then, it runs away from the new master and returns, so that it can be sold again.
Anime and Manga
- A weapon example occurs in Gokudo in which the eponymous trickster protagonist gets a magic sword from Djinn that shoots fire but also can get back to Gokudo's hands if is missing. This gets him the idea of sell the sword in various towns and after get the money call back the sword and so get rich easily.
- One Andy Capp strip had him pulling this with a homing pigeon, you'd think the clue would be in the name.
- For a different type of "sold", in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Blondie and Tuco have a scam where Blondie poses as a bounty hunter bringing in Tuco for the reward. Then as Tuco is about to be hanged, he snipes the rope, allowing Tuco to escape, join him, and do it again in another town.
- Skin Game. In 1857, a pair of con artists (one black, one white) use this trick to fleece white slave owners. The white partner sells his black partner to the slave owner as a slave. Later on, the black partner escapes and meets up with the white partner and they split the profits.
- A common plot in fairy tales is a sorcerer's apprentice who runs away from his master, and allows his father to make money by selling him shapeshifted. The only condition is that father sells him without a bridle. The sorcerer commonly recaptures him when the father forgets this condition, or by snatching the horse before the bridle can be removed.
- Another fairy tale plot is a man who is given a task by the ruler to herd rabbits or another similar animal for a reward, with his life being the price for failure. However, he has a magic artifact that can force any runaway rabbit back. So when the ruler's servants (and later, the ruler himself) try to get a rabbit from him, he sells one in exchange for some embarrassing task, and instantly summons it back. Then he uses the tasks as blackmail material when the ruler tries to weasel out of the agreement.
- In E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Golden Pot, the main antagonist sells apples, and at one point tells the hero they have this property.
- In The Lord of the Rings, after the hobbits' ponies run away in Bree, they are forced to buy one (at a triple price) from a rather unpleasant guy, and Frodo wonders whether this trope might be the case. Aragorn reassures him it's unlikely - the seller isn't someone an animal will want to return to.
- The heroine of Ernest Thompson Seton's "Slum Cat" pulls this off a couple of times throughout the story. The ending states her owner made it a regular business.
- A variant in Terry Brooks Magic Kingdom of Landover series this was pulled with the kingdom as a whole. Evil Wizard Meeks and former King Ard Rhi sell it, the buyer would find that it was impossible for them to rule, and it would default back to them. Then Ben Holiday came along and actually managed to bond with the land.
- One of Enid Blyton's stories involves a pair of toymakers who sell only dolls and soldiers, no trains, no balls, no hoops. The townspeople buy their toys, but eventually realise that the toymakers only sell toys that wear shoes because they put a walking spell in the shoes that make the toys walk back to be resold. In revenge, the townspeople pour all the toymakers' spell into their shoes and force them to spend the rest of their days walking without end.
- A variant occurs on Wizards of Waverly Place. Alex purchases a dragon dog from a shady salesman to make up for Justin's old dog running away. After their parents agree to take care of it as long as they attempt to find it's rightful owner (as Alex claimed it was a stray she found), the salesman comes to reclaim the dragon so he can resell it later. A Zany Scheme ensues as they try to get it back.
- In the 1996 Cosby sitcom, Cosby's character's daughters bought a homing pigeon, with the seller telling them that the pigeon only needs a few days with them to consider their house his new home. They find out about this because they put nail polish on the pigeon before the pigeon went back to the seller, and recognized the polish when they saw him again.
Mythology and Religion
- In an Older Than Feudalism example, Erysichthon from Greek mythology was cursed with unending hunger for killing a nymph. After wasting all his property on food, he sold his daughter. Being a Voluntary Shapeshifter, she ran away and back to her father. Rinse and repeat.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventure T1 The Village of Hommlet. The traders in the village will sell the Player Characters "vicious, cowardly mongrel" dogs, claiming that they're trained hunting dogs. The dogs will take the first opportunity to run away from their new owners and return to the traders. The traders will dye the dogs' fur to disguise them. If the PCs return and claim that the traders pulled a fast one on them, the traders will claim that the dogs are actually others that just happen to look like the originals.
- Call of Cthulhu supplement Dreamlands, adventure "Yellow Sails". The NPC Mironim-Mer has a highly intelligent cat named Fortune. When the PC party needs to buy a boat to leave Dylath-Leen, the owner will offer to sell it for 50 gold pieces. If the party doesn't have enough money, Mironim-Mer will offer to throw in Fortune as part of the deal. The owner will accept (he clearly plans to eat Fortune). As the party prepares to set sail, they will find Fortune onboard the boat.
- White Dwarf magazine #74, article "A Company of Wolves". The article includes a short story about a werepig and his brother. The brother would take the werepig to town and sell him in pig form. Later, the werepig would return to human form and escape his new owner.
- Waverly Flams has an even more lucrative version in Wanna Buy A Ghost? where a man in a Coat Full of Contraband is selling ghosts at $5,000 each. Not only does the ghost return to the seller, it kills the owner and brings their ghost back!
- In the Looney Tunes short "Chow Hound", a dog runs a scam with a cat, forcing him to bring the food the cat's "owners" give him. The dog treats the cat horribly, always hitting him for not bringing him gravy. Eventually, the dog changes the scam to get the reward for lost pets, then yank the cat away like a coin on a string. The dog eventually gets enough money to by his own butcher shop. He gets hospitalized for overeating, and that's when the cat gets his revenge by forcing extra gravy down his throat.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, goldfish that kids win at the carnival play dead, and all KND agents go to the same place to flush them. Naturally, that pipe leads back to the carnival where the goldfish stand owner can retrieve them.
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