St. Kevin. British Library MS Royal 13 B VIII, f. 20.

St. Kevin and the Blackbird.

The holy Kevin, while avoiding the society of his fellow men during the season of Lent, as his custom was, devoted his time to reading and prayers, in the desert, occupying a small hut which did nothing but keep out the sun and rain, giving himself up to contemplation only.

And while he was lifting up his hand to heaven through the window, as he used to do, a blackbird by chance alighted on it, and treating it as a nest, laid an egg there. And the Saint showed such compassion towards it, out of his patient and loving heart, that he neither closed his hand nor withdrew it, but indefatigably held it out and adapted it for the purpose until the young one was fully hatched.

And, in order to perpetuate the memory of this wonderful act, all the figures of St. Kevin, throughout Ireland, have a blackbird sitting on his open hand.

Text source:
—. The Church and Kindness to Animals.
London: Burns & Oates, 1906. 75-76.

Image source:
Green, John Richard. A Short History of the English People. Vol. 2.
London: G. Newnes, 1908. 894.

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