Story: Saint Kevin

Second grade is chock full of wonderful stories from many different cultures. Today I'd like to share with you my retelling of the legend of Saint Kevin from Ireland. This story comes from the Lavender's Blue Second Grade curriculum, which includes saint stories from the Catholic, Jewish, and Native American traditions as part of the language arts program. (For more on second grade themes and stories in the Waldorf curriculum, see this post on Second Grade Essentials.) 

I hope you enjoy this one!  xo, Kelly 

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Saint Kevin of Ireland

When baby Kevin was born in the green land of Ireland, a cow wandered up to the house and offered to feed the young babe.  The cow offered her milk until the lad was of an age to be weaned. 

Kevin’s parents knew there was something special about the boy, and so when he was seven years old they sent him to live with the monks and learn from them.  Every spring the monks fasted for forty days in a season called Lent.  On the first day of Lent the boy Kevin arrived and kneeled down to pray outside.  When he stretched out his hands, a blackbird came and landed there and began to build a nest.  Kevin stayed still for all of Lent while the blackbird laid its eggs and raised the little hatchlings.  The blackbird fed him with nuts and berries and he did not disturb the nest.  The last hatchlings flew away on Easter morning and at last Kevin got up and went into the monastery.

When he grew up he too became a monk and he chose to live in a beautiful remote valley far from any town or any other person at all.  An angel led him to a steep mountain that rose up from a lake and showed him the way up a hidden trail to a cave.

Kevin lived in the cave and became a hermit.  For many years, his only companions were the animals and the birds.  He wore animal skins and ate what food he could find.  An otter who lived in the lake brought him fish to eat. He spent his days in prayer.

After seven years in seclusion, a cow who had wandered off from a nearby farm, discovered Kevin praying by the lake.  The cow came to visit Kevin every day and would lick his clothes and feet.  The farmer began to wonder why this cow was producing so much more milk than all the rest, so he watched her one morning after the herd was let out to pasture.  Imagine how surprised he was to find that the cow was visiting a hermit and licking his feet!  The farmer started to visit Kevin often and learn all he could from him.

And so although Kevin had hidden away, people began to hear of the holy man who lived in the cave above the lake of Glendalough.  People came from far and wide to seek his guidance and to live by his example.  Kevin became a teacher as well as a hermit.  He decided that it was time to build a monastery there.  But when he asked permission from King O’Toole, it was refused.

Kevin prayed for guidance, and soon he heard that King O’Toole had a beloved pet goose who was old and not well.  Kevin visited King O’Toole and offered to heal his goose.  In exchange he asked to have whatever the goose flew over.  The King knew the goose was too old to fly, so he agreed.  Kevin picked up the goose and held it.  Then the goose was well again and just as strong as it had been in its youth.  The goose leaped out of Kevin’s arms and flew directly over the whole valley of Glendalough before returning to his friend the King.  The King had no choice but to give the valley to Kevin, and so it was there the monastery was built. 

After some time, seven churches were built in Glendalough and it became a holy and important place for people to visit in pilgrimage.  For many years, Kevin taught and served the monks and the people of Glendalough.  He had a peaceful and devoted heart, and did not close his eyes in death until he was 120 years old. 

The End

Be sure to check out the Lavender's Blue Second Grade Curriculum! It's full of wonderful stories, clear guidance on how and what to teach in second grade, active learning in circle time, an exceptional math program, and more. All the info on Second Grade is here.