Once upon a time the laughing Buddha Hotei or Budai was caught in the rain. Since he was bare-chested, his clothes in rags, he was going to catch a cold if he didn’t find shelter quickly. Being ever-blissful our fat-bellied friend laughed as he began to run. A little ways down the road he saw an inn. Soon he was inside the inn and was drying and warming himself by the fire. The innkeeper who loved wines had a small wineshop for his guests. Since Hotei was poor he knew he could not afford to spend the night at the inn, so he hoped the rain would stop or that the innkeeper wouldn’t mind if he stayed by the fireplace all night long. Fortunately, the innkeeper was a friendly soul, and had his servants bring Hotei a chair to sit beside the fire and a hot mug of soup – cream-of-tomato flavour. It was one of the best nights Hotei ever spent.
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.