La Carete, Charete, Charrette, Karete
Useful as carts must have been for transporting things, in Arthur's day the cart served the same purpose as the pillory did for Chrétien's own contemporaries: traitors, murderers, the losers of judicial combats, thieves, highway robbers - all these were forced to ride in the cart, and thereafter lost all legal rights and were never again heard, honorded, or welcomed in any court.
This, adds Chrétien, was what had given rise to what appears to have been a twelfth-century supersition about seeing a cart in one's path, similar to the one we know about a black cat crossing in front of one. Small wonder that Lancelot hesitated a little to ride in a cart, even for the sake of rescuing Guenevere from Meliagrant.
Chevalier de la Charette | The Legend of King Arthur
Carete, Charete, Chariot, Charite, Charrete, Charroie, Charyot
A castle on the border of Gorre (Gore), in which Lancelot was imprisoned by several queens, headed by Morgan le Fay. (In the Vulgate Lancelot, her co-conspirators are Queen Sedile and the Queen of Sorestan; in Malory, they are the Queen of North Wales, the Queen of Eastland, and the Queen of the Out Isles.)
They tried to make him choose a lover from among them, but he refused and was eventually freed by one of their maidservants, who elicited from him a promise to fight for her father, King Bagdemagus, in an upcoming tournament.
The castle’s name commemorated Lancelot’s ride in the cart during his rescue of Guenevere, as he had passed by the castle on the way. (In Malory, however, his rescue of Guenevere occurs long after his imprisonment by Morgan.) Later, Lancelot returned to Cart Castle to save his deliverer from marriage to an evil knight. Malory says that Morgan owned the castle.
Cart, Dwarf of the
Charete de la Nain
Lancelot had ridden two horses to death pursuing Meliagrant, Guenevere, and Kay, when he caught up with a cart and asked the dwarf driving it if he had seen the Queen. The dwarf, a surly and vulgar fellow, only bade him get into the cart if he wanted to find out what had happened to her.
Riding in the cart was a horrific disgrace but, having just ridden two horses to death and thus being afoot with no other way to travel, Lancelot climbed in. Gawaine soon caught up, and the dwarf gave him the same advice; Gawaine, still having his horse, chose to ride alongside.
The dwarf silently allowed this - indeed, the dwarf seems not to have spoken again, even when they passed people who questioned them about what the knight had done. After depositing both knights without explanation at the castle of the "Lady of the Deadly Bed", the dwarf drove off and disappeared from the story.
Could it be that Lancelot's following the dwarf's injunction and Gawaine's refusal to do the same has any bearing on the fact that Lancelot was able to cross the Sword Bridge into Gore while Gawaine, at this stage in Arthurian romance the greatest of the knights, could not manage the Water Bridge and finally had to be rescued?
Lady of the Deadly Bed | The Legend of King Arthur
Cart, Maiden of the
The name of three damsels. [See Maiden of the Cart]