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The Real Legend Of Mulan Is Darker And More Complicated Than We Realized

Updated 4 Sep 2020 30.5k views13 items

When barbarians invaded ancient China, each family sent a warrior to protect their homeland. In the Mulan legend, a young girl volunteers to take her father's place, disguising herself as a man to fight for China. In the earliest version of the Mulan legend, Hua Mulan goes off to battle and fights for 12 years before returning to her family.

Over the centuries, storytellers told and retold the story, adding complicated twists to her tale. In one version of the story, a warrior princess captures Mulan and declares her a barbarian slave. In another, the Turkic khan tries to make Mulan his concubine. In nearly every version, Mulan's story is not a heroic triumph. Instead, it is a tragedy. Many versions of the legend end with Mulan taking her own life.

As for the real life of Mulan, some claim her story is only a legend. However, Hua Mulan has inspired generations of people for centuries - in spite of the tragic elements of her story.

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