Help me ID an old short story I read?

I read this short story while I was still in school, and I graduated high school in 1973.

In this story most people can, and do, use magic. The focus is on a young boy who doesn’t seem to have any interest in learning spells, he prefers math. His parents are very worried, and as a last resort they summon a demon who is supposed to frighten kids. It advances on the boy, saying something like “A naughty little boy!”

The kid defends himself by grabbing one of his books and summoning an accountantcy spirit, which protects him and subdues the other spirit. The parents realize their kid has magical talent after all and leave him alone.

Anyone know this story?

“The Accountant” by Robert Sheckley

Thank you, thank you!

God, I love this board.


Glad to help. Here’s a list of where the story is collected Title: The Accountant

I read it in Asimov’s anthology “Tomorrow’s Children”



Good God, I’d forgotten about that! (Hangs head in shame)