Once upon a time, there was a poor boy named Ma Liang, who was born smart and loved to draw since he was a child. But because his family was poor, he didn’t even have money to buy a brush. When he went to the mountains for firewood, he would break a branch and draw on the hillside; when he went to the river to cut grass, he would dip the grass root into the river water and draw on the river; when he returned home, he would take a piece of charcoal and draw in the yard.
Ma Liang drew relentlessly, never stopping for a day. But he often thought, “How wonderful it would be if he could have a brush. One night, in a trance, Ma Liang felt a multicolored light in the kiln, when a white-bearded old man appeared, who gave him a golden brush. Ma Liang happily woke up, it was a dream! But he looked at his own hand, it was incredible. He did have a pen in his hand. He immediately drew a bird with the pen, the bird came to life, spread its wings and flew, and he drew a fish, the fish also came to life, jumping around. With this magic brush, Ma Liang painted for the poor and kind people in the village every day, and what they lacked, Ma Liang painted for them.
A greedy and unkind rich man in the neighboring village heard about this, and immediately sent someone to capture Ma Liang, forcing him to paint for himself. No matter how the rich man coaxed him and scared him, he refused to paint. The rich man put him in the stable and refused to give him any food. In the evening, it snowed heavily.
The rich man saw a bright red light coming from the door of the stable, and smelled a fragrant smell, so he looked in the door, and Ma Liang was inside a large fireplace, while baking a fire, while eating hot baked cakes. The fireplace and the cakes are drawn by Ma Liang with a magic brush. The rich man was enraged and intended to kill Ma Liang and take away his magic pen. At that moment, Ma Liang climbed up a ladder and went over the wall. The rich man hurriedly climbed up the ladder to chase, just two steps, and fell down. It turned out that the ladder is also Ma Liang painted with the magic pen. The wealthy man has not yet climbed up, Ma Liang has ridden a horse painted with a divine brush galloped away.
The rich man rode his horse, with people, chased up. Seeing that he was about to catch up, Ma Liang drew a bow and an arrow with a magic brush. Ma Liang shot an arrow with his bow and hit the rich man’s throat, and the rich man died. When the emperor found out, he sent someone to arrest Ma Liang. The emperor forced Ma Liang to draw a money tree for him, or else he would be killed. Ma Liang waved his magic brush, in the middle of a boundless sea there is a small island, the island has a tall and large money tree. Ma Liang also drew a huge wooden boat, the emperor took people on board the wooden boat. Ma Liang drew a few strokes of the wind, the big wooden boat traveled with the wind. Ma Liang continued to keep drawing the wind, the sea breeze rolled up layers of huge waves, the boat was knocked over by huge waves, the emperor also sank to the bottom of the sea.
Where did Ma Liang go afterwards, people do not know. Some people say that he returned to his hometown, and those who planted the land together. Others say that he wandered around, painting for the poor people.