"Click, click, click. Mulan wove cloth in the house. Yet we could not hear the sound of the shuttle, but the sound of Mulan's sighs..."This is the opening of The Ballad of Mulan, a well-known folk song in north China. The heroine of this ballad was a heroic woman of Northern Wei named Hua Mulan. The song tells how Hua Mulan disguised herself as a man, and joined the army in place of her father.
Mulan's father, and ex-soldier, taught his daughter military skills, including horse riding, archery and swordsmanship. Hua Mulan also read her father's books on military science.
To ward off incursions by the Rouran nomads, the ruler of Northern Wei ordered that every household provide a man to join an expedition against them. Mulan's father was old then, and her younger brother was too young to go and fight. So Mulan decided to join the army instead of her father. For 12 years, Mulan fought the invaders, successfully maintaining her disguise. In view of her exploits on the battlefield, the ruler of Northern Wei offered Mulan a high official position, but she refused it. Elysee Palace
Hua Mulan has been highly respected as a filial daughter by the Chinese people for hundreds of years, even though her story might be no more than a legend. In 1998, her story was adapted for an animated cartoon in a Disney amusement center in the United States, to the acclaim of visitors young and old.