There was a shortish story I read in middle school that was about a young boy who wanted to be a wizard.

My memory is spotty, but I remember him training with someone who kept having him look at plants and herbs. If I recall correctly he got fed up and looked at his mentors spell book and cast some very difficult spell that unleashed "a monster" on the world that would dominate his destiny.

His mentor saved him and nursed him back to health, gave him a staff and sent him to some wizard school that he thought the young kid would prefer to learn at.

More stuff happens... But I remember in the end he had to fight a dark version of himself.

Had the definite feel of a Bildungsroman.

  • 3
    Hi! Welcome to SF&F. This is very nice description, but a few more details might help us. In what language did you read it? Was it in a magazine or an anthology? When did you read it (we don't know when you were in middle school!) Was the story old or new then?
    – Basya
    Jun 19, 2022 at 12:23
  • From the title I thought it must be Lord of the Rings! ;-) Jun 20, 2022 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a slightly mixed up version of Ursula K. Le Guin's "A Wizard Of Earthsea".

The boy summons a dark creature, which is banished by his teacher; who then sends him to the magic academy. He gets into a spell contest with a classmate, and summons the creature again, but this time it physically manifests. Most of the book is him trying to banish the creature.

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    Unquestionably, this is it. "Someone who kept having him look at plants and herbs" sounds like a very apt description of Ogion the Silent from Sparrowhawk's point of view.
    – Buzz
    Jun 19, 2022 at 15:27
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    Note that A Wizard of Earthsea isn't a "shortish story" but a full-length novel of about 200 pages. Jun 19, 2022 at 21:17
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    @NateEldredge Which is good. Identification Q's always have 1 detail which is completely wrong. Jun 20, 2022 at 4:46
  • Also as far as I remember Ogion (mentor in this case) does not save Ged (main character) nor gives him a staff and send him back to wizard school again. Jun 20, 2022 at 13:19
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    @RobbieGoodwin My kids would definitely consider 200 pages "short"
    – Kevin
    Jun 21, 2022 at 13:42

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