In Chapter 14, it is Sunday, and Mr. Travis, the Sabbath school teacher, is giving the sermon at church because Reverend King, the founder of Buxton Settlement and the regular preacher, is away in England. Elijah and Cooter are happy, because Mr. Travis' messages tend to be shorter than Reverend King's, and because after the service, Ma and Pa and Mrs. Holton are going to take "a bunch of...children" down to Lake Erie for a picnic! The ride to Lake Erie is long, and Elijah, hoping to eavesdrop on what the adults are talking about, sits up "right 'gainst the middle of the bench" in the buckboard. At first, the adults do not talk about anything interesting, and Elijah falls asleep. When he awakens, he hears his Ma telling Mrs. Holton about something that happened to her while she was a slave.
In the incident she recounts, Ma, who is about Elijah's age at the time, is taken from her mother by her master's family to the north, specifically to Flint, Michigan, where it will be her duty to care for the master's little girl, Missy, for the summer. At one point during that time, she is taken even further north, to Detroit. While in Detroit, Ma looks over the water and can see Canada, which the slaves call "the land of milk and honey." Ma is disappointed to discover that Canada does not look any different from Detroit, in the United States.
When Ma gets back home at the end of the summer, she tells her ma about what she did in the north. When she mentions that she saw Canada, however, her mother becomes irate, and strikes her, saying,
"What kinda fool I done raised? You was close enough to see Canada and you standing here afor me now?"
Ma tells her ma that she didn't think of running away to Canada, where slaves are free, because if she had, she would never see her ma again, but her ma strikes her again, telling her,
"If them people ever...ever take you north again and you don't try reaching Canada, I'm-a make you a promise right here...I'll kill you myself once you get back here."
The value of freedom having been thus instilled within her, Ma runs away to Canada when she is taken to Detroit again two years later, even though she knows she will never see her ma again.
When the buckboard finally arrives at Lake Erie, everyone has a good time. There is plenty of good food to eat, and the children play a game they enjoy, "abolitionists and slavers" (Chapter 14).
This is alot better than reading the book. The book is really hard to read, this simplifies it alot.