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The Magic Paintbrush    
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The Magic Paintbrush

A Chinese Folktale







Once upon a time, there was a young man called Ma Liang. He was poor and kind and liked drawing so much that he drew pictures everywhere. One night, he dreamed that an old man gave him a magic paintbrush and asked him to use it to help poor people. When he woke up, he found the magic paintbrush on his desk.

From that day on, he used the paintbrush whenever poor people needed help. When he saw that people had no water to use in the fields, he drew a river and the river came to life. People could bring water from the river to the field to help their crops grow. When he saw the hard working farmers struggling to feed their families, he drew more food for them to eat. Soon, many people knew about the magic paintbrush and were very grateful to Ma Liang.

But in the village, there lived a rich man who was mean and decided to steal the paintbrush from the young man so that he could use it to become even richer. So he sent his servants to Ma Liang's home to steal the magic paintbrush.

Once he had the paintbrush, he felt very happy and he invited his friends to come to his home so that he could show them his new possession. He drew a lot of pictures, but none of them would come to life for him. He was very angry that the paintbrush would not work for him so he sent for Ma Liang.

He said to the young man, "If you draw some pictures for me and bring them to life, I will set you free."

Ma Liang did not want to help such a bad man, but he had an idea.

He said to the bad man, "What would you like me to draw?"

The rich man said, "I want a golden mountain. I will go there to gather gold."

But the young man drew a sea first.

The rich man was angry and said," Why did you draw a sea? I want a golden mountain. Draw it quickly!"

So the young man drew a golden mountain which was far away from the sea.

The rich man said, "Draw a big ship quickly. I want to go there to gather gold."

The young man smiled quietly and drew a big ship. The rich man jumped into the ship and set off to find the gold but when the ship sailed to the middle of the sea, Ma Liang drew a large wave which destroyed the ship and the rich man was never seen in the village again.

After that, the young man lived with his family happily and used the magic paintbrush to help the poor people as the old man had asked him to do and the magic paintbrush was known and loved by everyone.

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