TYE MAY AND THE MAGIC BRUSH
A story from China that might be told there today, lightly illustrated with some style and charm and more than a touch of Chinese flavor. "Many years ago a cruel and greedy emperor ruled over China. His people were very poor. One of the poorest was Tye May. Her mother and father were dead and she lived alone." She lives by gathering and selling firewood and reeds, but once she sees an art class in session she longs for a brush. Without it, she draws lifelike figures with sticks in the dirt; then a woman in a dream brings her a magic brush that makes whatever she draws actually come to life. Tye May uses her gift to help the people, until a wicked landlord tries to command her talent and she has to flee. Then the evil emperor hears of her and takes her prisoner, but with the aid of her brush she shipwrecks him and his family and goes her way. As told, it's not one of the more resonant folk tales available, but for a read-it-yourself cultural sampling it beats out the recent Demi version (K. 1980, p. 1459, J-327).