I'm reading the Odyssey for a class I teach--and in Book VI, there's a passage translated by Robert Fagles in reference to Nausicaa about to go take her laundry out to the river:

"With that
he [Alcinous] called to the stablemen and they complied.
They trundled the wagon out now, rolling smoothly,
backed the mule-team into the traces, hitched them up,
while the princess[Nausicaa] brought her finery from the room
and piled it into the wagon's polished cradle."

I'm surprised by this translation and wonder at its accuracy. Could there have been mules as far back as 800 B.C. or so?

Also, it would be good to know what a wagon's cradle is, but I can look that up.