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John Todd was a minister in 19th Century New England. Born in Vermont, but soon moved to Connecticut, when Todd was six years old, both parents died, and Todd was given a home by an aunt who lived nearby. He lived with his aunt until he left to study for the ministry. While he was away, his aunt became seriously ill, and wrote Todd with questions concerning death. I want to share a portion of Todd’s reply:

It is now thirty-five years since I, as a little boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word that you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I will never forget the day when I made the long journey of ten miles to your house in North Killingworth. I can still remember my disappointment when instead of coming for me yourself, you sent Caesar to fetch me.

I well remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey, and, as it grew dark, I became lonely and afraid. “Do you think she’ll go to bed before we get there?” I asked Caesar anxiously. “Oh, no.” he said reassuringly. “She’ll stay up for you. When we get out of this here woods, you’ll see her candle shinin’ in the window.”

Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me and that you lifted me—a tired and bewildered little boy—down from the horse. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.

You probably realize why I am...

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