The Ballad of Mulan
Alas! the wind has seized my hair,
And I am clutching at it in alarm:
A bird flew by and brushed my face,
And my heart pounded with wild thoughts.
Before my door, I set up the loom,
And wove and spun till midnight came.
Then I caught my son and placed him on my knee,
And said, \”Don\’t ask your mother why.\”
\”Mother, why are you weaving and spinning so late?
\”\”Because I have no heart for dresses and bows.\”
\”Why are your eyes red with weeping and your heart sad?\”
\”Because I am far from my paternal home.\”
And so it was for twelve months more,
And the silk in my loom piled higher.
But when my father\’s name was called to war,
I donned my father\’s armor and mounted his horse.
I galloped off, past the city walls,
And journeyed off to the battle front.
I fought for ten years, and as a captain,
I led my troops and returned victorious.
I was granted an audience with the Son of Heaven,
Who asked if I would like to serve in office.
\”I\’d rather ride my horse in the border region,
Than serve as a royal clerk or minister.\”
And so I returned to my village home,
Where my hair grew long and my face was homely.
My comrades-in-arms were all surprised,
And even my parents were shocked.
But they opened the door, and I smiled with glee,
And greeted my little sister and brother.
When they saw me, they only asked in surprise,
\”Why is your hair so long, sister?\”
\”Because I rode my horse without stopping,
Over ten thousand miles of rugged territory.\”
And my father smiled and patted my back,
Saying, \”You have done well my son, you have done well.\”