The Legend of the Five Kernels

 Each year, at my children's school, we hold a special Thanksgiving ceremony. A traditional part of the ceremony is the reading of the "Legend of the Five Kernels". Whenever I listen to this simple legend, I am always reminded of the importance of having a grateful heart in all aspects of my life. Many years, our family has followed the tradition of placing the five kernels adjacent to plates at our family Thanksgiving meal. Simple object lessons such as this one can be a wonderful conversation prompt and can grow into a family tradition that will be passed along to future generations. I hope you enjoy this legend and that your family celebration of this holiday is filled with beautiful traditions and newly created memories. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Legend of the Five Kernels

It was very cold for the Pilgrims that first winter. Food was in short supply. Some days, they had only five kernels of corn. When spring came, the Pilgrims planted the remaining corn. The sun and rain helped the seeds to grow and much food was harvested in the fall. Every Thanksgiving thereafter, the Pilgrims placed five kernels of corn beside each plate to remind them of their blessings.

The first kernel reminded them of the autumn beauty.

The second kernel reminded them of their love for each other.

The third kernel reminded them of their family's love.

The fourth kernel reminded them of their friends…especially their Indian brothers.

The fifth kernel reminded them of their freedom.


This Thanksgiving, let us all remember the blessings of our lives. Count the kernels, count your blessings.


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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