And in its place he has two wooden pegs:
"Well was it walkin' across the sea
Wore your two fine legs from the knees away?"
An iconic trait of seamen of all kinds, be they pirates, sailors or fishermen, is to have a wood (might also be metal, bone or some other material) stump in place of one of their missing legs, which they probably lost to a shark, whale, crocodile or other aquatic hazard somewhere. Expect those characters to be badass (as would be expected of any character that lives a dangerous life at the sea), often of the retired variant.
This was Truth in Television as several pirates, privateers and admirals had those during the modern era. Before the invention of antibiotics in the early 20th century, a broken or otherwise injured limb would often become infected. It was therefore common practice to amputate. Unlike the stereotype, however, a character with a wooden leg would most often become the ship's cook, as the peg leg meant he couldn't climb the rigging anymore.
- One Piece:
- As a series about pirates, it inevitably has an example in the form of "Red Leg" Zeff, a retired pirate whose kicking strength was legendary (and still is fairly strong nowadays), but he had to sacrifice one of his legs in order to eat it so he wouldn't die from hunger while stranded in a desert island with a young Sanji, who had all the "regular" food.
- The main antagonist of the tenth movie One Piece Film: Strong World, Shiki, is a legendary pirate with two swords replacing both his legs (which he had to cut in order to escape jail). It was not a big deal for him though, thanks to his floating powers.
- Berserk features a pirate captain who has this among almost every other stereotypical pirate trait. In a slight turn of realism, he needs to use a crutch to get around, but he still manages to be a Handicapped Badass though virtue of being handy with a blade, a Combat Pragmatist, and keeping a few secret weapons stashed on his person. One of which includes a holdout blade hidden in his pegleg.
- Triple-Patte (Three-Legs), originally from the French comic Barbe-Rouge but far better known for his appearances in Asterix. In both cases he functions as the Smart Guy, giving out appropriate Latin quotes and hitting people with his crutch.
- Wonder Woman (1942): The submarine captain Huntress villain the Sea Lion has a hook hand and peg leg, to give him a pirate-like air.
- Wiley from Johnny Hart's B.C. has never sailed the seas, but he does have a peg leg. Wiley functions as poet / bartender / coach among his cave-dwelling peers.
- The Far Side has numerous examples.
- An old sailor is pointing at his peg leg and saying "Well, that's not such a bad story... But wait 'til you hear how I lost this!" to a man with a peg head.
- A pirate gets a beauty treatment from his crew, which includes working on his peg leg with a file.
- A snake-pirate has had his entire body replaced with a wooden peg.
- Another caveman has crude pegs replacing his various limbs.. because he's been training his enormous pet Ptero Soarer to "perch" on them.
- Gobber the Belch from How to Train Your Dragon is a viking with an artificial arm and leg, both which he made himself. Hiccup, who gets his own peg leg at the end of the first movie could technically count as well.
- My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Captain Celaeno of the Sky Pirate (which are not pirate parrots, but parrot pirates), when in full gear, has a crystal peg on her lower right leg. While she's working for the Storm King, it's just a plain old wooden leg.
- Long John Silver from Disney's Treasure Planet has a pneumatic peg leg, one of many cybernetic fittings. Jim Hawkins punctures it, crippling Silver, which allows him to escape the galley with intel that the Legacy's crew is composed of pirates.
- A peg leg-wearing pirate is featured in The Black Pirate.
- In Fantômas Unleashed, Commissioner Juve goes to the Masquerade Ball in a pirate costume, complete with eyepatch and peg leg doubling as a machine gun.
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- Davy Jones has a crab leg that presents the same problems as an ordinary peg leg.
- Captain Barbossa loses his leg between sometime after the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and has a peg leg in On Stranger Tides. Fitting, since he's been the most stereotypical pirate throughout the series. Then, just to take that stereotype Up to Eleven, he had it hollowed out and uses it as his personal bottle of rum. You can't get more pirate-y than that.
- Long John Silver of Treasure Island is one of the Trope Codifiers, although he didn't have a peg leg in the original book, using a crutch to help him move around instead. The peg leg would originate in later adaptations. And, in keeping with the Truth in Television mentioned in the trope description, he was the ship's cook! (Though it's not specified whether that was also his job before he lost his leg.)
- Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick is the other Trope Codifier (to the point that some examples on this page are Expies of either him or Long John Silver mentioned above). Captain Ahab lost a leg during a previous whaling voyage while hunting the white whale and now has a grudge against it. In fact, his missing leg is the main force that drives his revenge plot against the titular whale. He had his peg leg made from a sperm whale's jawbone while at sea; late in the story, he damages it and has the ship's carpenter make him a new one. It's mentioned that Ahab had a earlier serious accident, in which the leg apparently broke and the broken stump stabbed him in the groin. In the Patrick Stewart film adaptation, one of the crew throws a scare into the others by coming down the ladder using one leg and a stick.
- In Fred Saberhagen's Berserker: Blue Death, space captain Nils Domingo loses his leg leading a Boarding Party against the Berserkers about halfway through the book. Much like Captain Ahab, he has a prosthetic made from Berserker steel.
- Bush in the Horatio Hornblower series. At the end of Ship of the Line, Lieutenant Bush loses his leg, and in Flying Colours he gets a wooden leg and a promotion to Captain. He then serves under Hornblower as Captain of the ship Nonsuch in Commodore Hornblower and Lord Hornblower.
- The Sea Wolf: Implied in the first chapter. The "red-faced man" is clearly an experienced seaman and though he's wearing long trousers, walks in an odd way that Van Weyden surmises is caused by having two artificial legs.
- Jonathan Small from the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four is a former soldier who lost his leg to a crocodile while serving the British army in India and replaced it accordingly. He has also sailed throughout the world, although that happened after losing his leg.
- The Bounty Trilogy: Huggan, the ship's surgeon, has a peg leg. He lost his leg when his ship engaged in combat with John Paul Jones during The American Revolution.
- Deptford Mice: In Thomas, a book in the prequel trilogy, Mulligan has a peg leg. It is explained that he lost his leg in a battle with the Big Bads, the Scale.
- Dodder from The Little Grey Men and Down The Bright Stream has a peg leg made from bone, and is skipper of a clockwork steamboat.
- In Aubrey-Maturin, there is a minor character who loses a leg and reappears as the captain of an East Indiaman, having few prospects in the Royal Navy as a result. Another minor character is an elderly officer in a similar position, but still in the Navy; Aubrey appoints him captain of a prize vessel, effectively pensioning him off (because the Navy Board will, by convention, confirm the promotion but not employ the officer again, thereby placing him on half-pay indefinitely).
- L. Frank Baum's character Cap'n Bill is a retired but competent salt with a wooden leg; he and his young friend Trot were originally the protagonists of The Sea Fairies, and then were transferred to the Land of Oz series when the former project failed to be a commercial success.
- In the Get Smart two-part episode "Ship of Spies", the captain of the ship has a peg leg which makes a distinctive "clip-clop" sound when he walks - but so does practically everything else on the ship.
- On Black Sails, John Silver loses the lower part of his leg at the end of season 2. In season 3 he is using a metal peg leg to move about. He is warned that he should be using a crutch instead since the amputation is still too recent for him to use a peg leg. He risks reopening the wound and losing the rest of his leg. He abandons the leg for a book-accurate crutch at the beginning of season 4.
- Whodunnit? (UK): Blackbeard, the pirate who acts of detective in "Which Eye Jack", sports a wooden leg as part of his Dressed to Plunder look.
- Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" (with lyrics that Woody Guthrie wrote decades earlier but never set to music) is an odd little shanty-like song about a sailor with a wooden leg, which he lost while he was climbing up the topsail, and now he's "shipping up to Boston" in search of it.
- Alestorm takes this Up to Eleven. "Wooden Leg" details how the narrator lost both his legs to cannon fire from a Spanish ship, then got into a bar fight with a samurai who cut off his arms, giving him two peg legs and two peg arms. In "Wooden Leg, Pt 2 (The Woodening)" he hunts down his enemies, cuts off their limbs, and uses voodoo magic for some Appendage Assimilation. the stolen limbs turn out to be possessed and drive him to madness and suicide.
- Parodied in Bleak Expectations, where Admiral Hardthrasher has a wooden leg — and another wooden leg, two wooden arms, several wooden ribs, a wooden kidney, wooden hair...
- "Peg Leg" is a selectable character Trait in the pirate-themed Pathfinder Skulls & Shackles campaign. A PC who takes it has had his leg chewed off by a shark as a child, but they suffer no normal penalties for using a prosthetic and instead gain a bonus on damage rolls against sharks and other aquatic predators.
- In the Discworld Roleplaying Game, the main illustration for the Brown Islands setting (which is about one-third pirate settlement to two-thirds pirate-themed tourist trap) shows an Agatean tourist taking an iconograph of a pirate captain with a peg-leg. From the angle the reader is seeing the scene, the rest of his leg, tucked behind the peg, is clearly visible.
- In Dreadfleet's background material, the pirate captain Aranessa Saltspite amputated her mermaid-like legs and replaced them with a pair of peg legs she carved herself from the blades of swordfish so that she could walk on land, and avoid the stigma of being a mutant.
- Cuphead: Captain Brineybeard has two peg legs.
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: The basic Kremling enemies have peg legs, fitting the general pirate motif of the game. Some even had two peg legs, meaning they could only move by leaping.
- Team Fortress 2. The Bootlegger, a primary item for the Demoman, includes a peg leg. It's a reskin of Ali Baba's Wee Booties, which bizarrely means having a pegleg increases the Demoman's mobility while charging.
- Monkey Island: Several characters have these. Most of them pirates.
- Alone in the Dark 2: Shorty Leg lost one of his legs to the recoil from two cannons he fired. Notable because his peg leg is the first hint the enemies you're fighting, who up to that moment look like mere 1920s gangsters (even if their skin colour just looks weird), are more than they seem.
- In Puzzle Pirates, if your ship is sunk in battle, there's a certain probability that you'll end up with a peg leg.
- Woodlegs, the playable pirate character from Don't Starve.
- In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, Morgane's childhood home has a rack of them, left from prominent pirate ancestors. She doesn't have one herself, although Simpkins, one of the villains, does.
- Ittle Dew: Itan Carver is an extreme example, with two peg legs, one peg hand, and one hook.
- Moshi Monsters:
- Mr Mushy Peas, one of the Ghost Pirates, has a peg leg.
- Exaggerated for Octopeg, an octopus with most of his tentacles being replaced with peg legs.
- In Rimworld, if a colonist has to have a leg amputated (from being infected or simply mangled after a battle), in lieu of more advanced prosthetics you can simply fashion a peg leg from a single piece of wood and attach it on. It's better than nothing.
- Cookie Run: Pirate Cookie has one along with a Hook Hand and an eyepatch. In 2020 it was revealed on the developers' official Youtube channel that he lost it when he walked off his ship and fell into the ocean and was then rescued by Sorbet Shark Cookie. His relationship chart even mentions this when looking at the one for Sorbet Shark Cookie.
Pirate Cookie: Thanks fer savin me, but... me leg!
- Pokémon Uranium: The Ghost Pirate Pokémon Skelerogue's right leg ends in a bony peg. This is lost when it evolves into Navighast and its legs turn into Fog Feet.
- Russel, the pirate otter from Happy Tree Friends has all the features of a typical pirate, including a peg leg.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, as the Doc gleefully slaughters a pirate ship, he proclaims, "Oooh, sorry. You're going to need a second peg leg. Woaah! And you're going to need a peg face! Haha! Peg faces for everyone!" The next chapter has a Call-Back when some of the same pirates reappear—and do have peg faces.
- Parodied in Cyanide & Happiness where the Pirate Parrot has a peg wing.
- Played straight in Exiern as Peggy is The SeaCleaver's cook, and very proud of his cooking, claiming to be famous for it.
- Recurring Disney villain Pete had one at the time of Alice Comedies (where he played the role of a pirate once), but it was later removed from his design. Apparently the animators were having a hard time keeping the peg leg consistent. He still gets one when typecast in a pirate role in more recent works, however.
- Parodied with the character of Seamus from Family Guy. He's a fisherman with a typical pirate getup who has pegs replacing all his limbs, including his arms. One episode even shows him with a wooden torso.
Peter: How are you alive?
Seamus: Me mother was a tree.
- Also parodied in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy with a Captain Ahab Expy who had replaced his entire body with wood.
- Captain Stickybeard from Codename: Kids Next Door has a peg leg made out of candy cane.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Patchy the Pirate has one.
- On the episode "Aargh!", Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob and Patrick some pirate gear to put on when they go treasure hunting. SpongeBob puts on two peg legs and calls himself Peggy the Pirate.
- The episode "Ocean Commotion" from Dexter's Laboratory featured yet another Ahab Expy, with a peg leg and exaggerated pirate speak.
- Captain Kidd steals "The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg" in the 1936 Felix the Cat cartoon. He duels ably with Felix at first, until his peg gets stuck in a knothole on the pirate ship's deck.
- Cow and Chicken. Whenever Red Guy poses as a pirate — such as Cap'n Butz Pirate — he will often tape his feet to his butt and attach peg legs to his knees; however, in "Lawnmower Chicken," he actually had peg legs, despite just being a grumpy old neighbor.
- Rocko's Modern Life. In "Fish n Chumps", former pirate-turned-local mariner Crappy Jack not only had wooden legs, but also wooden arms, and wooden eyes!
- Captain K'nuckles from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has wooden legs, wooden hands, and a wooden 'sittin' muscle'.
- Futurama: Space Pirates are featured in the episode "Godfellas". Their captain is a four-legged alien dressed in typical pirate attire, including peg legs for three of his legs.
- The pirate captain from Mike, Lu & Og has two wooden legs.
- Subverted in Dragon Tales, where Sky Pirate Captain Scallywag simply looks like he has one because he wears a telescope on his leg. Somehow.
- Captain Pablo in The Backyardigans episode "Pirate Treasure". It makes it hard for him to walk quickly.
- Parodied in an episode of the Where's Waldo? cartoon, which featured Odlaw teaming up with a "Captain Pegbeard", who had a peg-leg sticking out of his chin.
- Eek! The Cat: In the episode "The Whining Pirates of Tortuga," one of the titular pirates has two peg legs and a peg head.
- François Le Clerc, the French corsair who led the first French privateering fleet to the New World and in 1553-1554 sacked several Spanish ports in the Caribbean, was nicknamed Jambe de Bois ('Wooden Leg', i.e. Peg Leg) after he had lost a leg in a sea-fight with the English at Guernsey in 1549.