Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 15

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

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Chapter 15

  • Hongan Os, who goes by the stage name Mad Bear, opens the chapter by having some of his warriors flogged. Seems they had some captives quartered, and Mad Bear just didn't think that was cool. For the horses.
  • Mad Bear knows the lax discipline from his warriors results from his treaty with the "grass-eaters" of Texarkana.
  • But he can't explain the plans he's made with Hannegan to keep word from reaching the Laredans.
  • The deal with Hannegan is simply way too sweet for Mad Bear to pass up.
  • He gets weapons from Hannegan and all he has to do is not wage war against Texarkana.
  • So he's like, "Fine, I'll wage war against Laredo instead."
  • Mad Bear dons his wolf robes, has a totem painted on his face, and tips back a pint of steer's blood.
  • One of the captives asks why they don't drink water. In Mad Bear's tribe, drinking steer blood is just what manly men do. Because they're so manly.
  • The other captives complain to the questioning captive, one Thon Taddeo, why they have to drink blood too.
  • Thon Taddeo requests guides to see him and his men to the Leibowitz Abbey. Mad Bear ensures Taddeo he'll have real men to accompany him. Ouch.
  • To prevent further insults, Taddeo retires early while his soldiers discuss the impending war with Mad Bear.

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