Mulan was a Mongol

Mulan was a Mongol

Yes, Mulan was a woman who disguised herself as a man to save her elderly father from going to battle. Yes, she was heroic and won high honors for her prowess in battle. So what’s about the Disney version? Uniting China against the Huns/Mongols.

In fact, Mulan did quite the opposite. She was a Mongol of the Toba tribe who drove the Chinese out of Mongol territories that had been occupied since Han Dynasty incursions. Her Mongol name is “Zambaga” in Mongolian. Zambaga is name of a flower (Magnolia) the original writing, Moku Araraki Shi (“Mulan Words” or “Mulan Expression”) repeatedly refers to her ruler exclusively as the Great Khan (可汗) and never as “emperor”. She lived in the Toba Khanate (拓拔魏汗) and fought against the ethnic Han Chinese Emperors of Yan (燕) from as early as 416 (probably not until 418) until she destroyed of the Yan Empire of China in 436.

The entire text of Moku Araraki Shi with English translation below:

唧唧復唧唧
木蘭當戶織
不聞機杼聲
唯聞女嘆息
Ji-ji, again ji-ji,
Mulan faces the door, weaving.
You can’t hear the sound of the loom’s shuttle,
You only hear Daughter’s sighs.
問女何所思
問女何所憶
女亦無所思
女亦無所憶
They ask Daughter who’s in her thought,
They ask Daughter who’s on her memory.
“No one is on Daughter’s thought,
No one is on Daughter’s memory.
昨夜見軍帖
可汗大點兵
軍書十二卷
卷卷有爺名
Last night I saw the arny notices,
The Khan is calling for a great force.
The army register is in twelve scrolls,
and every scrolls has Father’s name.
阿爺無大兒
木蘭無長兄
愿為市鞍馬
從此替爺征
Father has no adult son,
Mulan has no older brother.
Wish to buy a saddle and horse,
and serve in Father’s place.”
東市買駿馬
西市買鞍韉
南市買轡頭
北市買長鞭
In the East Market she buys a steed,
In the West Market she buys a saddle and saddle blanket,
In the South Market she buys a bridle,
In the North Market she buys a long whip.
朝辭爺娘去
暮宿黃河邊
不聞爺娘喚女聲
但聞黃河流水鳴濺濺
At dawn she bids farewell to Father and Mother,
In the evening she camps on the bank of the Yellow River.
She doesn’t hear the sound of Father and Mother calling for Daughter,
She only hears the Yellow River’s flowing water cry jian-jian.
旦辭黃河去
暮至黑山頭
不聞爺娘喚女聲
但聞燕山胡騎聲啾啾
At dawn she bids farewell to the Yellow River,
In the evening she arrives at the summit of Black Mountain.
She doesn’t hear the sound of Father and Mother calling for Daughter,
She only hears Mount Yan’s nomad horses cry jiu-jiu.
萬里赴戎機
關山度若飛
朔氣傳金柝
寒光照鐵衣
She goes ten thousand miles in the war machine,
She crosses mountain passes as if flying.
Northern gusts carry sound of army rattles,
Cold light shines on iron armor.
將軍百戰死
壯士十年歸
歸來見天子
天子坐明堂
Generals die in a hundred battles,
Strong warriors return after ten years.
On her return she sees the Son of Heaven,
The Son of Heaven sits in the ceremonial hall.
策勛十二轉
賞賜百千強
可汗問所欲
“木蘭不用尚書郎
愿借明駝千里足
送兒還故鄉”
Merits are recorded in twelve ranks
And grants a hundred thousand strong.
The Khan asks her what she desires.
“Mulan has no use for a high official’s post.
I wish to borrow a ten-thousand mile camel
To take me back home.”
爺娘聞女來
出郭相扶將
阿姊聞妹來
當戶理紅妝
Father and Mother hear Daughter is coming
They go outside the city wall, supporting each other.
When Older Sister hears Younger Sister is coming
Facing the door, she puts on rouge, .
小弟聞姊來
磨刀霍霍向豬羊
“開我東閣門
坐我西閣床
When Little Brother hears Older Sister is coming
He sharpens the knife, quick, quick, for pig and sheep.
“I open the door to my east room,
I sit on my bed in the west room,
脫我戰時袍
著我舊時裳.”
當窗理云鬢
對鏡貼花黃
I take off my wartime gown
And put on my old-time clothes.”
Facing the window she fixes the cloudlike hair on her temples,
Facing a mirror she dabs on yellow flower powder
出門看火伴
火伴皆驚惶
同行十二年
不知木蘭是女郎
She goes out the door and sees her comrades.
Her comrades are all shocked.
Traveling together for twelve years
They didn’t know Mulan was a girl.
“雄兔腳扑朔
雌兔眼迷離
兩兔傍地,
安能辨我是雄雌?”
“The male rabbit’s feet kick up and down,
The female rabbit’s eyes are bewildered.
Two rabbits running close to the ground,
How can they tell if I am male or female?”

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