Clash! Shwing! Clash! A fierce battle rages between the Chinese and the Mongolians on a snow covered slope. Horses whinny and stagger on the frigid earth out of fright as their riders unsheath iron weapons slung about their waists to defend themselves against oncoming opponents. Strong muscles ripple and strain beneath heavy and protective armor as swords collide and soldiers fight to remain alive so that they may defend their cause a little longer. Behind helmets is steaming fog which escapes from soldiers’ frozen lips, plotting eyes that scheme and watch surroundings, and weary exhausted minds that desperately try to find a way to defeat and conquer opposing warriors who stumble forth in rage through shin-deep snow. Wails of agony and torment are lured from the hearts of lost fighters as a blade penetrates a human’s skin, and veins now connected to no limbs gush and flow liters of pure red onto the fallen precipitation which covers the ground, blending white with the ever growing puddles of blood.

The Mongolians push the Chinese back, back to where they came from, back to the gaping mouth of defeat. The Chinese begin to feel that all is lost, all hope has diminished when suddenly, a rider bearing the Chinese flag upon a long wooden pole races upon a coal black horse into the stream of oncoming opponents. The rider brutally wields its sword to kill and eradicate the awestruck Mongolians. Renewed with hope, the Chinese follow the rider into the heat of the battle, fighting with ferocity that they did not believe they could possess. The Mongolians know that they do not stand a chance and quickly flee up the wet terrain to high altitudes to escape the impetuous soldiers pursuing them. Breathing heavily, but wearing a smile, the Chinese rider lifts its flag into the air so that it may billow in the wind as a conclusion of victory. Shouts of triumph emit from the winning army as they stare at the brave rider with admiration and gratefulness. Little did they know that the brave rider atop its pitch-dark mount, was a woman.

This is the legend

of Hua Mulan

The actual time period that Hua Mulan lived in is not exactly determined by historians, but is believed to have been approximately fifteen hundred years ago in 500 A.D, during the Sui and T’ang dynasties, when the legend of the heroine first began to be told. Hua Mulan was assumed to come from the central plains of China from either the Gansa, Hebei, or Henah province, and was most likely from a Xianbei or Han clan. In this region and time period of ancient China, girls in families received hardly any education and were mostly taught only how to do household chores such as weaving, washing, cooking, and taking care of young ones. The females served little purpose and recognition in life, were only considered to be figures to be sold off in a good marriage to strengthen family ties.

But that all shifted when the Mongolians, who originated from the land known today as the USSR, began to grow in power, numbers, and boldness. Mongolians began to yearn for superiority and land, began to spread to other nations and conquer them until much of the eastern lands were under Mongolian rule. Eventually, these vanquishers reached China and set their minds to gain it as their own. When his land was threatened, the ruler of China, Emperor Khan, sent for his imperial war generals that had fought in former wars and proved themselves worthy and fierce when the country was in need of aid. Emperor Khan thereupon sent out his Imperial court officials to fetch these lighters as well as one man from each family to serve in the Chinese army against the Mongolians. Since it was against the law for women to participate in war, with a punishment of death, men were the only family members that could be accepted into the Chinese army.

An every day family in Ancient China would consist of the grandparents, the eldest son and his wife and children. If the Grandfather of the family was too weak and old to again take part in war, his eldest son would take his place in the army. But such a family did not exist for the Huas. The only males amongst their household relatives were Mularfe elderly father, Hua Hu, a retired Imperial General, and Mulan’s younger brother, who was only but six years of age at the time. If either of the two went to war representing the Huas, they would certainly die in battle. But if neither of them went, their family would be disgraced and shunned by other people, for they would be thought to not care for their country. Mulan knew that, out of all her family members, she herself was the only one fit to go forth into war. Even though she was a woman she was willing to risk her own life to save that of her father’s and brother’s. That is why, when the officials sent by the Emperor to fetch warriors came to the village which Mulan lived in, Mulan dressed herself as a man and pretended to be Hua Hu’s eldest son, therefore placing herself in the position to represent the Hua family in battle. The officials were easily fooled. . . . (look for part 2 next week)

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