Translation of the Mulan poem
The insects chirping happily outside,
Mulan sat opposite the door weaving;
No sound of the shuttle was heard,
Only sighs of the girl.
When asked what she was pondering over,
When asked what she had called to mind,
Nothing special the girl was pondering over,
Nothing special had the girl called to mind.
Last night she saw the military announcement,
The Emperor was conscripting,
There were twelve announcements of conscription,
And Father's name was in every one of them.
Father had no grown son,
Nor Mulan an older brother;
She wanted to buy a saddle and horse,
And from now on fought in place of her Father.

In the eastern market she bought a fine steed,
In the western market a saddle and a pad,
In the southern market a bridle,
In the northern market a long whip.
At daybreak she bid farewell to her parents,
At sunset she bivouacked by the Yellow River;
What met her ears was no longer her parents' call,
But the gurgles and splashes of the rushing waters.
At daybreak she left the Yellow River,
At sunset she arrived at the top of the Black Hill;
What met hers ears was no longer her parents' call,
But barbarians' horses neighing in the Yanshan Mountains.

On the expedition of thousands of miles to the war,
She dashed across mountains and passes as if in flight;
In the chilly northern air night watches clanged,
In the frosty moonlight armour and helmet glistened,
Generals laid down their lives in a hundred battles,
And valiant soldiers returned after ten years' service.

When she returned to an audience with the Son of Heaven,
The Son of Heaven sat in the Hall of Brightness.
A promotion of many ranks was granted for her merits,
With a reward than amounted to thousands of strings of cash.
The Khan asked Mulan what she desired to do.
'I don't need any high official position,
Please lend me a sturdy mount that is fleet of foot,
And send me back to my hometown.'

When her parents heard their daughter was coming,
They walked out of the town, each helping the other;
When the elder sister heard the younger sister was coming,
She decked herself out in her best by the door;
When her younger brother heard his sister was coming,
He whetted a knife and aimed it at a pig and a sheep.
Opened the door of my east chamber,
And then sat down on the bed in my west chamber;
Took off the armour worn in wartime,
Attired myself in apparel of former times;
By the window I combed and coiffed my cloudy hair,
Before the mirror I adorned my forehead with a yellow pattern.
When Mulan came out to meet her battle companions,
They were all astounded and thrown into bewilderment.
Together they had been in the army for a dozen years or so,
Yet none had known that Mulan was actually a girl.

The male rabbit kicks its fluffly feet as it scampers,
The eyes of female rabbit are blurred by fluffy tufts of hair,
But when they run side by side in the field,
You can hardly tell the doe from the buck!
Translation3 of the Mulan poem
Tsiek tsiek and again tsiek tsiek,
Mu-lan weaves, facing the door.
You don't hear the shuttle's sound,
You only hear Daughter's sighs.
They ask Daughter who's in her heart,
They ask Daughter who's on her mind.
"No one is on Daughter's heart,
No one is on Daughter's mind.
Last night I saw the draft posters,
The Khan is calling many troops,
The army list is in twelve scrolls,
On every scroll there's Father's name.
Father has no grown-up son,
Mu-lan has no elder brother.
I want to buy a saddle and horse,
And serve in the army in Father's place."

In the East Market she buys a spirited horse,
In the West Market she buys a saddle,
In the South Market she buys a bridle,
In the North Market she buys a long whip.
At dawn she takes leave of Father and Mother,
In the evening camps on the Yellow River's bank.
She doesn't hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears the Yellow River's flowing water cry tsien tsien.
At dawn she takes leave of the Yellow River,
In the evening she arrives at Black Mountain.
She doesn't hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears Mount Yen's nomad horses cry tsiu tsiu.

She goes ten thousand miles on the business of war,
She crosses passes and mountains like flying.
Northern gusts carry the rattle of army pots,
Chilly light shines on iron armor.
Generals die in a hundred battles,
Stout soldiers return after ten years.

On her return she sees the Son of Heaven,
The Son of Heaven sits in the Splendid Hall.
He gives out promotions in twelve ranks
And prizes of a hundred thousand and more.
The Khan asks her what she desires.
"Mu-lan has no use for a minister's post.
I wish to ride a swift mount
To take me back to my home."

When Father and Mother hear Daughter is coming
They go outside the wall to meet her, leaning on each other.
When Elder Sister hears Younger Sister is coming
She fixes her rouge, facing the door.
When Little Brother hears Elder Sister is coming
He whets the knife, quick quick, for pig and sheep.
"I open the door to my east chamber,
I sit on my couch in the west room,
I take off my wartime gown
And put on my old-time clothes."
Facing the window she fixes her cloudlike hair,
Hanging up a mirror she dabs on yellow flower powder
She goes out the door and sees her comrades.
Her comrades are all amazed and perplexed.
Traveling together for twelve years
They didn't know Mu-lan was a girl.

"The he-hare's feet go hop and skip,
The she-hare's eyes are muddled and fuddled.
Two hares running side by side close to the ground,
How can they tell if I am he or she?"
Translation2 of the Mulan poem
Busily busily cricket sings
By the door the maiden Mulan weaves
Why isn't the shuttle's sound heard
But only the maiden Mulan's sighs?
Ask the maiden of whom are you thinking
And what is on your mind?
Answers Mulan, of no one am I thinking
And nothing is on my mind
Last night, I saw the draft poster
The Emperor is calling many troops
The army listing has twelve scrolls
In all of them is father's name
Father has no grown sons
And I have no elder brothers
I want to buy a saddle and a horse
And serve the army in father's place

In the east market she buys a fine horse
In the west market she buys a saddle and a cushion
In the south market she buys a snaffle and reins
In the north market she buys a long whip
At dawn Mulan bids farewell to father and mother
At dusk she sleeps at the Yellow River's bank
The calling of father and mother is not heard
But only the running water of the Yellow River
When daylight breaks she left the Yellow River
At night she arrives at the Black Mountain top
The calling of father and mother is not heard
But only the running horses of the nomadic army in Mount Yan

Traveling ten thousand miles, Mulan fights in the battlefields
Overcoming impasses and mountains swiftly as though flying
The frigid wind carries the watchman's rattle in the northern country
The moonlight shines on the iron armors in cold nights
Having fought hundreds of life and death battles
Over ten years pass, and as a warrior Mulan returns

Returning triumphantly, Mulan meets the Emperor
Who sits in a shining hall
Receiving the highest honor in twelve ranks
Mulan is rewarded in a thousand and more
The Emperor asks what her wishes are
Mulan replies, being an official is not my desire
I only wish to borrow the camel's feet
That travel swiftly to take me back to my home

Father and mother hear of daughter's return
They come out of the city, holding onto each other
Elder sister hears of sister's return
She rouges herself in front of the door
Younger brother hears of sister's return
He sharpens the knife and comes for pig and sheep
Mulan opens the door to the eastern chamber
And sits on the bed in the western chamber
Taking off her wartime robe
She puts on her old-time dress
By the window, she fixes her long silky hair
Facing the mirror, she puts yellow power on her forehead
She then comes out to see her army friends
Who are all shocked and amazed
Having been in the same army for twelve years
They do not know a maiden Mulan really is

"The he-hare's feet hop and leap
The she-hare has bleary eyes
When the two walk together close to the ground
Who can tell which is he and which is she?"
Translation4 of the Mulan poem
The sound of one sigh after another,
As Mulan weaves at the doorway.
No sound of the loom and shuttle,
Only that of the girl lamenting.
Ask her of whom she thinks,
Ask her for whom she longs.
"There is no one I think of,
There is no one I long for.
Last night I saw the army notice,
The Khan is calling a great draft -
A dozen volumes of battle rolls,
Each one with my father's name.
My father has no grown-up son,
And I have no elder brother.
I'm willing buy a horse and saddle,
To go to battle in my father's place."

She buys a fine steed at the east market;
A saddle and blanket at the west market;
A bridle at the south market;
And a long whip at the north market.
She takes leave of her parents at dawn,
To camp beside the Yellow River at dusk.
No sound of her parents hailing their girl,
Just the rumbling waters of the Yellow River.
She leaves the Yellow River at dawn,
To reach the the Black Mountains by dusk.
No sound of her parents hailing their girl,
Just the cries of barbarian cavalry in the Yan hills.

Ten thousand miles she rode in war,
Crossing passes and mountains as if on a wing.
On the northern air comes the sentry's gong,
Cold light shines on her coat of steel.
The general dead after a hundred battles,
The warriors return after ten years.

They return to see the Son of Heaven,
Who sits in the Hall of Brilliance.
The rolls of merit spin a dozen times,
Rewards in the hundreds and thousands.
The Khan asks her what she desires,
"I've no need for the post of a gentleman official,
I ask to borrow a camel fleet of foot,
To carry me back to my hometown."

Her parents hearing their girl returns,
Out to the suburbs to welcome her back.
Elder sister hearing her sister returns,
Adjusts her rouge by the doorway.
Little brother hearing his sister returns,
Sharpens his knife for pigs and lamb.
"I open my east chamber door,
And sit on my west chamber bed.
I take off my battle cloak,
And put on my old-time clothes.
I adjust my wispy hair at the window sill,
And apply my bisque makeup by the mirror.
I step out to see my comrades-in-arms,
They are all surprised and astounded:
'We travelled twelve years together,
Yet didn't realise Mulan was a lady!'"

The buck bounds here and there,
Whilst the doe has narrow eyes.
But when the two rabbits run side by side,
How can you tell the female from the male?