This tale is most popularly known as a Disney story. The shortened Disney version tells about a girl who goes to war for her father and disguises herself as a man, because if she goes as a female, she will be killed. She goes to war, saves China, and lives happily ever after with the Captain. This tale started as a poem "written during the Northern Dynasties (AD 420-589)" (Angela Kuo, Mulan FAQ website). About a thousand years later, "the story was expanded into a novel during the late Ming (AD 1368-1644) Dynasty" (Kuo). Another film version of Mulan "was the 1960 opera The Lady General Hua Mu Lan- (Kuo). In this version, she wants to fight in the war for two reasons: to save her father, and she's patriotic. Her father knows of her going off to war instead of him, and is superior to the other soldiers. She becomes wounded in battle and throws off the other soldiers and "insists she would rather die than remove her armor" (Kuo). No one finds out until after the war that she is a woman. The reason why I enjoy this fairytale is because it is a female going after what she believes in, and not a male. .
The fairytale I never particularly enjoyed was Sleeping Beauty, at least, until I read the more interesting, earlier version written by Andrew Lang. Lang's version, quite grotesque for children, is very different from Disney's version. One difference is that no one in the story is given a name, everyone is referred to by their title, making it a little confusing when the prince marries and there are two queens involved in the story. To make it easier, I have left the princess as such. The beginning of this fairytale is quite different. Seven fairies were invited to the princess's baby party to give her gifts, whereas in Disney's version, there were three fairies named Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. An eighth fairy came uninvited and was upset that no preparations were made for her. The six fairies that went before the evil fairy gave the princess gifts.