M is for Manly Mulan

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From China

If you only know about Mulan through Disney, then let’s bring some understanding of this ancient tale known as “The Ballad of Mulan” that consisted of 392 Chinese characters from the late Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). The northern lands of China often were attacked by the Hun.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

Mulan, a young woman, must appear as a man. Obviously, that means two genders in one.

I am fascinated by the 12 scrolls and the 12 years of war. The number 12 represents yin and yang, which suddenly brings about a duality. Yang is ruled by the sun, symbolizing independence. Yin is ruled by the moon, symbolizing balance. Does not this reflect Mulan’s personality and role in this story?

50-word-or-less summary:

Names on 12 scrolls of who will fight the Hun. Mulan replaced father in battle by gathering horse/saddle/headstall/whip from markets. Dressed as man. War lasted 12 years. Wished to return to family. Sought no reward. Only when Mulan returned home and changed did people discover she was not a man.

Finding the Story: 

Article about the real story of Mulan – found here

Time magazine article about story of Mulan – found here

Wikipedia on Hua Mulan (see many links at the bottom, too) – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/Festival

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus; High Desert Brain Trust; and people like you.

Published by storycrossroads

Story Crossroads fosters creative and compassionate communities through the art of storytelling. 501(c)(3)

One thought on “M is for Manly Mulan

Leave a Reply