The first two chapters of Elijah of Buxton start with Elijah's friend, Cooter, needing to solve a mystery about some tracks that they've found in the dirt. Preacher comes along and pulls their leg by telling them that they are 'hoop snakes'. Elijah, who is dealthy terrified of snakes runs to tell his mother about the hoop snake. His mother laughs at him and tells him that there is no such thing. Later, Elijah plants a frog in her knitting basket, hoping to scare her, but she just picks it up and tosses it out. The next day, she plays a trick on him by telling him that there are cookies in the cookie jar. When he reaches in a non-poisonous snake is in there. Elijah freaks out and can't imagine why his mother would play such a cruel trick on him.
In Chapter 2 Elijah is glad that no one was there to witness his reaction to the snake in the cookie jar. He recounts a time when he threw up on some famous visitors to their town. Two famous African American men were being honored, along with Elijah. Elijah was being honored because he is the first free born baby.