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Seadog Peg Leg

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Up comes Tim without any legs,
And in their place he had two wooden pegs:
"Well was it walkin' upon the sea
Wore your two fine legs from the knees away?"
My Son Tim, Irish traditionalnote 

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. As would be expected of any character that lives a dangerous life at the sea, expect said characters to be Badasses, 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.

A form of Artificial Limbs and a typical feature of a character that is Dressed to Plunder. A Sister Trope to Hook Hand.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 Terror-dactyl to "perch" on them.

    Films — Animation 
  • Despite not being a pirate, King Fergus from Brave wears a peg-leg due to one of his legs being bitten off by Mor'du in the prologue.
  • 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.
  • The LEGO Movie: Both of Metalbeard's legs (and most of his other body parts) are mechanical, but one of his legs is built in a way that makes it resemble a peg leg.
  • 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.
  • The Sea Beast has at least one case with Sara Sharpe. It's a little hard to have that trope not show up when an entire group of characters can be summed up as "Hunter of Monsters with a Friendly Pirate culture".
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • In Pirates, there's Captain Thomas Batholomew Red. He has to cut it in two when it gets stuck as he tries to board the Spanish galeon, and gets a new one from a woodworker who happens to be aboard.
  • 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 sometime after At World's End, having sacrificed it to escape from Blackbeard, and has a peg leg in On Stranger Tides. Fitting, since he's been the most stereotypical pirate throughout the series. Then, he had it hollowed out and uses it as his personal bottle of rum. You can't get more pirate-y than that.
  • The Asylum did a Setting Update of Moby-Dick, in which Captain Ahab has a modern artificial leg, after losing the previous one to the Monster Whale.

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Series has a peg leg made from bone, and is skipper of a clockwork steamboat.
  • Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick is one of the Trope Codifiers (to the point that some examples on this page are Expies of either him or Long John Silver mentioned below). 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Long John Silver of Treasure Island is the other Trope Codifier, 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.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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 - practically everyone else on the ship makes the same noise.
  • 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.

  • Alestorm: "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.
  • 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.
  • Stan Rogers' "Barrett's Privateers" has its main character lose both of his legs during an ill-fated battle with an American merchant ship, though whether he received any replacements for them is ambiguous.
    The Antelope shook and pitched on her side
    (How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
    Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
    And the main truck carried off both me legs
    Goddamn them all!
  • The traditional Irish sea shanty My Son Tim,note  (which provides the page quote) tells of an inexperienced sailor whose legs were blown off by a cannon ball in battle. In some versions, his mother vows revenge against the leaders of the countries whose soldiers harmed him; in others, such as the version sung by Gaelic Storm, he blames the monarchs off all the nations of the wars he was involved in (and the British in particular) for the loss of his legs.
    The foreign wars I'll now denounce
    'Twixt the King of England and the King of France,
    I'd rather my legs where they used to be
    Than be King of Spain with his whole navy.

  • 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...

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder: "Peg Leg" is a selectable character Trait in the pirate-themed 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.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • The Dwarf pirate Long Drong wears a peg leg as a result of having lost the original limb to a sea drake.
    • Dreadfleet: In the 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.


  • LEGO: The LEGO Pirates line has Captain Redbeard, whose right leg is designed to look like a wooden stump.
  • Sharx and Skulzy, both members of the Pyrratz tribe in Mixels sport a peg leg. Skulzy's is a standard-looking one, while Sharx's is a barrel, which he stores things in.
  • The Toyline-Exclusive Character Thundertron from Transformers: Prime is a robotic Star Seeker pirate captain who sports a peg-leg in robot mode.

    Video Games 
  • 64th Street: A Detective Story have pirate enemies, as well as the second boss, with peg-legs coming at you. They can actually use their pegs to spin around and attack.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Woodlegs, the playable pirate character from Don't Starve.
  • Ittle Dew: Itan Carver is an extreme example, with two peg legs, one peg hand, and one hook.
  • Monkey Island: Several characters have these. Most of them pirates.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pirate Hunter, where you spend the entire game fighting hostile pirates, have a few enemy mooks bearing peg-legs as well.
  • In Puzzle Pirates, if your ship is sunk in battle, there's a certain probability that you'll end up with a peg leg.
  • 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.
  • Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew: A few wooden legs can be seen among the pirate crew, such as on Toya and Theresa.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • Russell, the pirate sea otter from Happy Tree Friends has all the features of a typical pirate, including two peg legs.
  • Plan 3: The cursed pirate has a peg leg where his right foot would be. When he trips & dies, he actually trips over with his good foot.

    Web Video 


    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Captain Pablo in The Backyardigans episode "Pirate Treasure". It makes it hard for him to walk quickly.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Journey to the Center of the Lungfish" features a pirate named Captain Jetlag, who true to form has a peg leg.
  • Captain Stickybeard from Codename: Kids Next Door has a peg leg made out of candy cane.
  • 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.
  • Just like the game, Captain Brineybeard in The Cuphead Show! has a pair of peg legs; here, he gets them after Mugman accidentally breaks off his original legs while carrying him as a frozen statue. When he breaks free of Cala Maria's stone gaze, Brineybeard thanks Mugman for giving him two peg legs since most pirates only have one.
  • The episode "Ocean Commotion" from Dexter's Laboratory featured yet another Ahab Expy, with a peg leg and exaggerated pirate speak.
  • Subverted in Dragon Tales, where Sky Pirate Captain Scallywag simply looks like he has one because he wears a telescope on his leg. Somehow.
  • Eek! The Cat: In the episode "The Whining Pirates of Tortuga," one of the titular pirates has two peg legs and a peg head.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Also parodied in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Billy Ocean" with a Captain Ahab Expy named Captain Deadwood who had replaced his entire body expect for his pinky with wood. He later loses said pinky to a seagull dwelling in a hole in his head.
  • Captain K'nuckles from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has wooden legs, wooden hands, and a wooden 'sittin' muscle' (buttocks). He can walk normally (and if it's worse it's because he's out of shape), and his hands have individual fingers that inexplicably move like regular ones.
  • The pirate captain from Mike, Lu & Og has two wooden legs.
  • The Random! Cartoons short "MooBeard the Cow Pirate" depicts the titular character as having two peg legs.
  • 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!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Patchy the Pirate has a peg leg to complete the typical pirate archetype.
    • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: A Recurring Extra Ohnaka Gang member is a Space Pirates version with her mechanical peg leg.
  • The Tales from the Goose Lady short "A Fisherman, A Fisherman's Wife and a Fish" depicts the fisherman as having a peg leg.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: One-Eyed Sally's first mate Blather in "The Legend of Grimace Island" wears a peg leg even though both of his legs are intact.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • Cornelis Jol who, despite being an admiral of the Dutch West India Company, acted more like a corsair who targeted Spanish and Portuguese ships during the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic. He was nicknamed Houtebeen ("pegleg") because he lost a leg in battle.
  • 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.