The legend of Hua Mulan
The name Hua Mulan has been synonymous with the word "heroine" for
hundreds of years in Chinese society and culture. Disney's 1998 animated film,
"Mulan," brought her name to a wider audience. The following version of the
well-known story is presented in the form of Longjiang Opera.
On a peaceful morning, glistening with a rosy glow, Mulan washes clothes and
practices martial arts with her fellow mates. But the sound of the bronze gong
breaks off the harmony in the small town: The army is again recruiting new
The old and ailing Hua Hu, Mulan's father, is getting ready to be recruited,
but his "son", a young and handsome soldier, is standing in front of the family
- Mulan disguises as a man to stand for the duty of her father. With a sword
inherited from ancestors of the family, Mulan leaves for the battlefield.
In the cold evenings on the frontier, Mulan, who is not used to sleeping
with other soldiers in the tent, stands on guard during the night shift. Soldiers like Zhang
Shazi make fun of Mulan, but an honest officer called Jin Yong offers her his tent
to sleep in: The two become good friends. Jin respects Mulan for her martial arts skills
and ideas and Mulan admires Jin's masculine vigor and bravery.
For 10 years on the battlefield, the two friends
experience a great deal together and Mulan gets promoted to general. She is in
love with Jin Yong but has no means of expressing her feelings. In a surprise
attack against the enemy one evening, Mulan gets wounded by an arrow and goes to
recover at Han Mei's home, a girl who was saved by Mulan. The girl has admired
and loved Mulan "the general" for a long time. When Mulan is well and longs to
go back to the battlefield, Han Mei tells Mulan that she wants to marry her. At
this point, Mulan is forced to reveal her true identity.
After Jin Yong learns that Mulan is female, he becomes even more infatuated
with her, and Mulan also becomes more attached to Jin Yong. On the evening of
Mid-autumn Day, Mulan dreams that she becomes a real woman again and marries Jin
Yong. But the neighbors and Jin Yong's mother do not regard her as a woman and
refuse to accept a wife who is also a general. Then Mulan awakes from her
Jin Yong gets drunk and breaks into Mulan's tent, toasting three cups of wine
to her, and reveals his deep passion for her. Mulan promises that the day the
war is over will be the day when they get married.
The enemy launches a sudden assault and Jin Yong asks for an assignment. In
the heated and brutal battle, Jin dies saving Mulan. Seeing the dead bodies on
the battlefield, Mulan is devestated.
When the enemy retreats, Mulan goes back to the old battlefield to offer
sacrifices to the martyrs. She changes back to a girl's clothing and the other
soldiers realize for the first time that the general who has experienced such
hardships for twelve years is female. A feeling of reverence and respect towards
the woman overwhelms all of the soldiers. The imperial edict comes to promote
Mulan, but she resigns from the position and goes back home where she writes:
"Honors and disgrace, gains and losses are all external things; it's utter
dedication and loyalty to save the country".