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This trope is about vehicles that are pulled by cool, fantastic and unusual draught animals.
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Horses or oxen are the most common animals used to pull carts or carriages. In addition to bovine and equine species, reindeer, elephants, camels, llamas, sheep, goats, and dogs have been used as draught animals in real life. In fiction, things can get so much more varied and so much more awesome. A cart, chariot, carriage or sleigh pulled by unusual animals is a sign that the character is a fantastic being from myths, legends, sci-fi, fantasy or fairy-tales.

So if your character drives around in a chariot pulled by predatory animals, it scores some points on the awesomeness scale because only a truly badass character can use animals like cats, lions, panthers, tigers, bears, polar bears or wolves as draught animals. Under normal circumstances, these animals will rip you to flinders if you try to harness them. Therefore anyone who succeeds in making predators substitute for equines must be cool, have magical abilities, be nigh omnipotent or cuckoo. It might also be a sign of highly unconventional thinking.

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In Mouse World and similar settings, chariots, carts or sleighs can be pulled by rodents, especially mice, or rabbits or small birds. Those little draught animals give some "cuteness points" to our unconventional travellers and drivers. In fantasy settings, there might appear some vaguely ox-like fantasy creatures and large lizards, and some of them may be Mix-and-Match Critters. Fictional worlds set under the sea or similar underwater settings can feature fish, eels, seahorses or turtles as carriage-pullers. Swans as majestic and elegant birds are a popular choice for gods and goddesses or other powerful characters (see also Swan Boats).

Cats and Panthera Awesome are an extremely popular choice, so much so they form an Internal Subtrope. Mostly because cats are cute, cool, superior and connected to magic. They're domesticated and therefore very familiar, but they're still somewhat wild and untamed, mysterious and unpredictable. They're notoriously disobedient and known to do only what pleases them. Whoever manages to harness them and get them to cooperate must be awesome and powerful, and immediately gains the symbolism connected to cats or big cats.

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This trope is usually seen in myths, fairy-tales or fantasy. These vehicles and animals will signify prestige transportation in areas where other mechanical transport is cheap and easy. Occasionally it is employed for comedy when a Cloudcuckoolander or somebody truly insane attempts to pull this in a fictional work that is fairly realistic.

Sister trope to a Horse of a Different Color which is for animals that can be mounted as a horse, and close to a Dragon Rider. The power relationship is however different: a mount has a close, special bond with its rider, based on trust and mutual respect, while carriage-pullers are more like servants or even slaves, with the carriage-driver acting like their master who dominates them.

May overlap with Fantastic Fauna Counterpart, if the draught animal is treated as the setting's equivalent of oxen.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • Etemon, the Big Bad of the second arc, goes around in a trailer pulled by a styracosaur-like Monochromon.
    • Myotismon, the third arc's Big Bad, rides in a carriage pulled by a Devidramon, a demonic dragon.
  • In Princess Tutu, the Prince uses a flying chariot pulled by swans to return to his story with his Princess.

    Comic Books 
  • Lucky Luke: One story has Luke escort a wagon convoy west. At one point the convoy packs up and leaves in the dark, hitching animals without checking who they belong to, resulting in wagons being pulled by pairs of donkeys, horses, cows, and one very confused buffalo.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney:
    • Disney Fairies: The fairies have races using special carriages drawn by a pair of frogs. Not two frogs in the front, however, but one before and one behind with the seats in the middle. They move thanks to the back frog jumping above the carriage (which rotates along the two poles connecting the frogs to stay horizontal), thus the frogs switching place. Rinse and repeat.
    • The Little Mermaid:
      • King Triton makes his entrance into the concert hall riding on a giant oyster shell pulled by two seahorses. Inside the concert hall, though Triton can swim just fine with his own fishtail. Mer-kings be wack.
      • He is followed by Sebastian, who rides a normal-sized seashell pulled by a normal-sized seahorse, which Sebastian has a little trouble controlling.
    • The Rescuers: The Rescuers get an express ride to Madame Medusa's derelict steamboat in the bayou courtesy of a leaf-boat powered by the dragonfly Evinrude. It is taxing on this insect to go any meaningful distance, but he diligently does his job. It is charming to hear Miss Bianca call him "Even-rude".
  • The LEGO Movie: In the final battle, Emmet's Crazy Cat Lady neighbor can be seen driving a chariot pulled by her herd of cats.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Dr. Finkelstein creates flying skeletal reindeer for Jack Skellington. They pull Jack's sleigh when he travels around the world to deliver gifts for Christmas instead of Santa Claus.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Barbarella: Barbarella is rescued from the feral children of Planet 16, and gets a ride to the city of SoGo on a sled pulled by something like a stingray. The ground is presumed to be dry ice, as there's a constant mist six inches deep. How this critter gets traction enough to pull Barbarella around, and see where its going amid the fog goes unexplained.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Radagast the Brown's sleigh is pulled by giant rabbits (Radagast calls them "Rhosgobel rabbits").
    • In the extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a dwarven war chariot is pulled by large mountain goats.
  • Hop: The Easter Bunny's sleigh is pulled by a team of tiny, downy chicks that can fly somehow. And later also by Carlos who has been mutated into a bunny-chick abomination.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Jadis the White Witch goes to battle in a carriage pulled by polar bears.
  • Morozko: Marfushka is rude to Father Frost, and is forced to ride back into her village on a pig-drawn dinky sleigh. Her humiliation is played for laughs, but considering she threatened a personification of frost and freezing to death, she's lucky.

    Literature 
  • Hans Christian Andersen:
    • In the fairy tale "Ole-Luk-Oie", Hjalmar dreams that he rides in a boat pulled by swans.
    • "Thumbelina": When Thumbelina escapes the toad and her son, she floats on Leaf Boat down the stream. A lovely white butterfly starts fluttering around her. Thumbelina undoes her sash and she then ties one end to the butterfly and the other end to the leaf. She keeps sailing on a butterfly-powered little Leaf Boat.
  • In Bubaci A Hastrmani (Bogeymen and Water Goblins) by Josef Lada, a kindly, good-natured water goblin Brcal has a vehicle pulled by six black cats. In the animated version, he only has four of them. Inspired by Czech mythology.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, the humans of Arianus use a species of enormous flightless birds known as tiers as beasts of burden, and often use them to pull carts and wagons.
  • Discworld:
    • The Disc's Santa Claus equivalent is the Hogfather, who goes around bringing gifts to good children in an elegant sleigh drawn by cute little pink pigs. Or at least the sanitized modern version does, when Death covers the Hogfather's shift, he does it with a massive crude sled built out of logs and drawn by equally huge, hairy and non-housebroken boars.
    • In The Last Hero, when characters who aren't engineering geniuses are trying to visualise Leonard's plans for a dragon-powered spacecraft, there's a double-page spread showing a fantasia of Leonard riding in a hot air balloon being towed by dragons. (In the actual vehicle, however, the dragons are used as rockets.)
  • Dune: Great-worms and lesser-worms are used in teams to pull a chariot.
  • Harry Potter: In the fifth book, it's revealed that the Wizarding School's "horseless" carriages are actually pulled by Thestrals — skeletal pegasus-like creatures only visible to those who have witnessed death. They're morbid, but friendly and Ugly Cute.
  • James and the Giant Peach: After the peach falls into the sea, it's attacked by sharks biting holes that could sink it. To escape, the heroes lure seagulls close with Earthworm as bait (he's very unhappy about this) then catch and tie them to the peach with silk from Miss Spider and the Silkworm. With an entire flock of seagulls towing them, the peach rises out of the sea and into the clouds.
  • Land of Oz: In several books, Princess Ozma's chariot is pulled by the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger. This is often the extent of their participation in the books.
  • In Leviathan, the Darwinists use a large variety of bio-engineered creatures as chariot-pullers and beasts of burden. Among those seen are elephantines and mammothines (presumably modified elephants and mammoths) as well as a cart pulled by a pair of wolf-tiger hybrid creatures.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Jadis the White Witch rides a chariot pulled by a pair of polar bears in battle.
  • In The Silmarillion, when the Teleri (Sea Elves) of Tol Eressëa wanted to emigrate to Valinor, they travelled in ships pulled by large swans.
  • The Silver Warriors: The cover features a man in a sled being pulled by (weirdly tiny) polar bears.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • The planet Roshar's unique ecology leans heavily towards crustaceans, so the primary draught animal is a huge, docile, crab-like creature called a chull. They're fairly slow-moving, but actual horses are far too rare and expensive to waste on draught work.
    • The ships that navigate the Spirit World of the Cognitive Realm are pulled by Mandras, Giant Flyer spren that look like a cross between an eel and a sea slug. They don't need to be fed, so they're a very economical means of transport, their habit of occasionally vanishing into the Physical Realm notwithstanding.
  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Santa Claus flies around on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, an image that has endured in the Santa Claus mythos.
  • In Year in Review (2000) by Dave Barry, there is a joke about the president driving a chariot pulled by lions.
    [...] there is tension at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, where the Gore camp suspects that Bill Clinton is trying to hog the limelight. A Clinton staffer denies this, claiming that "security considerations" led to the decision to have the president enter the convention hall riding a chariot drawn by lions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community: In "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics", Star-Burns tries to develop the world's first cat-powered vehicle. He's seen trying to escape on a prototype. In a Brick Joke, there appears a crowd-funding video in which Star-Burns asks for donations for his cat car idea.
  • Doctor Who: In the 2010 Christmas Special the Doctor rides in a carriage pulled by a flying shark.

    Myths & Religion 
  • As part of her role as goddess of war, the Babylonian goddess Ishtar is depicted as riding in a chariot drawn by seven lions.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Dionysus is shown in artwork as being in a chariot drawn by panthers.
    • Aphrodite's chariot is drawn by swans or geese when not being pulled by the Erotes.
    • Apollo is the God of light, archery and the arts and his sacred swans pulled his chariot.
    • Artemis's chariot was pulled by a pair of her sacred deer.
    • Demeter gave Triptolemus a serpent drawn winged chariot after she was reunited with her daughter Persephone and her own chariot was drawn by her dragons.
    • Medea's chariot was pulled by flying dragons that were born of Titans blood.
    • Poseidon had a pair of hippocamps draw his chariot.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Goddess Freyja, goddess of love, drives a chariot pulled by two black or grey cats. Per the trope, this was generally taken as a sign of her being crazy but awesome. This webpage has collected many images of Freya and her cats.
    • Thor rides a chariot pulled by a pair of billy goats: Tanngrisnirnote  and Tanngnjostrnote . Thor also slaughters, cooks, and eats the goats at the end of each day, then brings them back to life the next morning.
    • Freyr rides a chariot pulled by Gullinbursti, a golden boar built by dwarves.
  • Cybele, a Phrygian mother goddess worshipped by the Greeks and (eventually) Romans as a goddess of nature, mountains, wild animals, magic, and city walls, is often depicted driving in her chariot drawn by lions.
  • Water goblins (evil beings residing in water areas like rivers, lakes and ponds who drown people and store their spirits in pots) from Czech mythology traditionally drive (or ride in) a carriage pulled by six black cats, though it's not their most known feature.
  • Jakub Krcin of Jelcany is a real person who founded many fish ponds in southern Bohemia in the 16th century. A legend of him emerged after his death: He was so successful in his business because he had made a deal with the devil. There is a local legend about him. He is known to be travelling around the country in a shabby black carriage drawn by six black tom-cats.
  • The Korean gye-lyong, a cockatrice-like dragon, is depicted as a chariot puller for various legendary figures.
  • Welsh folklore states that the small dog type of corgis were gifts from fairies who had them pull their carriages or even ride them into battle. As corgis tend to be have different coloration in a ring around its neck or their back, this was said to be from the saddle and harnesses that were put on them.
  • In the medieval legend of the "Knight of the Swan", a mysterious knight rides in a boat pulled by swans when he comes to rescue a Damsel in Distress. Richard Wagner's Lohengrin is based on this legend.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rocket Age:
    • Bahmoots, velociraptor-like reptiles, are used as beasts of burden on Mars.
    • The Silthuri use a three and a half metre tall bird called the Royal Karn to pull their chariots.
  • Tarot Cards: "The Chariot Card" is drawn as a chariot that is dragged by two differently coloured sphinxesnote ) each looking in its own direction.
  • Warhammer:
    • High elves have chariots pulled by white lions.
    • The Dark Elves use chariots pulled by Cold Ones — essentially, vicious, scaly Jurassic Park-style raptors.
    • The Beastmen use chariots drawn by enormous mutated boars covered in bony spikes.
    • Among the Greenskins, Orcs use chariots drawn by normal (but still huge and foul-tempered) boars, while the Goblins use wolf-drawn chariots instead.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Logan Grimnar, the Space Wolves' Chapter Master, rides into battle on an antigrav chariot called Stormrider, pulled by a pair of huge Fenrisian wolves.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders 3:
    • The Tigran Sabertooth Chariot is pulled by sabertooth tigers.
    • The Frostling Ice Queen rides a chariot pulled by polar bears.
  • A Hat in Time: The Nyakuza DLC adds in a sprawling metro complex where the subway trains are all pulled by giant cats.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has desert-dwelling "sand seals" that can pull chariots for racing, and are needed to chase one of the Divine Beasts.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash has three chariots pulled by Chain Chomps (basically a metal sphere with the behavior of an Angry Guard Dog) in the Golden Coliseum boss fight.
  • Total War: Warhammer:
    • The goblins and Norscans both use chariots pulled by wolves.
    • The Warriors of Chaos have Gorebeast Chariots, which are pulled by demonic, gorilla-like beasts.
    • The beastmen's Razorgor Chariots are drawn by monstrous, mutated boars covered in spikes.
    • The dark elves have Cold One Chariots, which are drawn by scaly, monstrous raptorial dinosaurs.
  • In Warlords Battlecry, The Empire's Titan unit is the Lion Throne, a war chariot pulled by lions.

    Web Animation 
  • Double King:
    • The very first image shows two centipede-like beasts carrying the King's throne on pillars on their backs. See here.
    • The King's mobile fortress is built on the back of a giant insect-like creature and it is almost pulled, but more like guided by two lion-like creatures.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • This gif features a guy driving a cart pulled by five grey cats. It's heavily edited.
  • This web page provides:
    • A cute pig-driven cart for children.
    • A little chicken-driven carriage for a child.
    • An ostrich-driven carriage for adults.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: One episode features Finn and Jake making a movie and they try to make it look like Princess Bubblegum is driving a chariot drawn by a frog. Throughout the show we see carriages and carts pulled by all kinds of strange creatures, which fit the Land of Ooo nicely.
  • Looney Tunes: In "Kiss Me Cat" (a sequel to "Feed the Kitty"), Marc Anthony tries to get Pussyfoot to catch the mouse that has been raiding the kitchen. Instead, the mouse hitches Pussyfoot to a wagon and uses him to get more food.
  • In the Popeye cartoon short "Seasin's Greetinks", Bluto is introduced being drawn on a sled driven by a small dog.
  • The Simpsons, "White Christmas Blues":
    • The crazy cat lady is seen in the intro driving a sleigh pulled by several of her cats.
    • In the intro, Mr Burns is driving a sleigh drawn by his signature hounds. (Dogs are sometimes used to pull sleigh in real life, but it's Played for Laughs here as Mr Burns hounds are usually sent to chase away unwanted guests.)
    • Marge and Maggie, dressed like Christmas elves, ride in a sleigh pulled by several greyhounds in the intro.
    • In the episode proper, Homer's romantic carriage ride through the snow is advertised as a horse-drawn carriage. It's actually Homer sitting in a small cart pulled by Snowball the cat and Santa's Little Helper the dog. He puts pictures of a mouse and a cat in front of them to power the cart by Animal Jingoism. There's no place for the tourists to sit and they are supposed to just watch him drive.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
  • Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle (Filmation produced the cartoon series from 1976):
    • The lost City of Gold has Queen Nemone riding in a chariot drawn by a pair of lions because she's royalty and an Alpha Bitch.
    • Queen Nemone's royal guards use paired lion chariots, most especially Phobeg, the queen's most badass guard.

    Real Life 
  • Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (Mata Hari) went to school in a carriage drawn by goats. At only 6 years old, she became the talk of the town when she travelled in a goat-drawn carriage that her father had given her.

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