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Approximately forty-three years ago, while old Eli Good was attending an evening worship service, an unknown person or persons had left a tiny infant in the back seat of his black buggy.
Instead of seeking help with this active bundle of joy, as both the church elders and his sisters urged, Mr. Good, an honest but simple Amish bachelor and raiser of rabbits, chose to rear the child himself. He started by christening him Kaninchen (the German word for Bunny), a name the lad later shortened to Benny.
With his sunny disposition and verbal gifts, Kaninchen quickly worked his way into the hearts of the Amish community. But as he grew in wisdom and stature, his playful curiosity occasionally got him into trouble. By the age of four years, he knew the location of every cookie jar within a two-mile radius. By the age of six, he had composed irreverent versions of over half the songs in the Amish hymnbook and had taught them to the other children. By the time he was eight, the young prodigy had moved from music to literature and was entertaining his little friends with bawdy paraphrases of the Bible stories that were their daily fare. When he was ten, Eli Good found him at the rabbit hutches, amusing himself by placing a love-starved buck in the hutch of three does and cheering the results. At twelve, he was caught peering into the bedroom window of a neighboring couple. At fourteen, it was reported that he had attempted to break into the bedroom of a young Amish woman.
Then, at sixteen, his adoptive father died of a heart attack. Because the elders could find no one to volunteer a spare bedroom, they took Kaninchen aside, gave him a hundred dollars and a shoo-fly pie, advised him to make his own way in the outside world, and, with fervent but desperate hope in their hearts, said a parting prayer.