The custom of rubbing Hotei’s belly to procure prosperity and good fortune had its origin in pain! It happened one day that Hotei in his sleep had exposed his belly to the cold air and turning of a sudden in his sleep he caused a muscle in his lower belly to go into a cramp. Hotei had no medicine in his sack to treat the painful affliction, and to buy it would cost a lot of money. All he could do was rub his lower abdomen to keep it warm and try to soothe the muscle as best he could. It was while clutching his tummy that he arrived at a village and the villagers welcomed him happily but soon noticed that he was in pain. Instead of plying Hotei with delicacies as it was wonted it was resolved by the villagers to take up a collection of alms to buy from the apothecary the much-needed balm. All the villagers, including the children and visitors from faraway places contributed to the fund. A small fortune was raised quite quickly and soon the healing ointment was applied to the affected area. A great crowd was witness to this rubbing in of the healing balsam. It was necessary to rub it in well for it to be efficacious. At Hotei’s feet were stacks of coins left over from the purchase of the balm. After a while Hotei’s furrowed brow smoothed and his habitual smile returned, the pain had subsided greatly and he was relaxed once more. Murmurs of gladness arose in the concerned throng. Ever since have gone together the rubbing of Hotei’s belly and overflowing wealth, good fortune and success.
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.