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.
Lancelot, or Le Chevalier de la Charrete | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century