Gale Myers - Speaking of Accountant
(From the Chronicles Introducing Fair Young Maides into the Genteel Arts of Intellectual Minutiae. (A primer for accelerating the social graces of the emerging feminine participants in the world of academic drawing room parlance.))
Speaking of accountant, I am sure you have often wondered, "I wonder where the word, accountant, came from?" Well toss and turn in your sleep no more, my dear, I am about to relieve you of the pain of ignorance. Accountant is actually an ancient Egyptian word applied to the novice scribes whose task it was to see to the preservation of the written histories of the illustrious pharaohs. This was before books of course, and their histories were kept in the form of hieroglyphics painted on papyrus scrolls neatly rolled and stored in tiny cubicles, called cubits, in the subterranean sections of the pyramids.
Now papyrus is a marvelous parchment, lasts for years and takes ink with an enduring clarity that assured it a place in the scholars' world for very many years. Its only drawback is that it was also, in its wild habitat, the natural breeding place for the tiny Achmedorian pestle ant. The ants would lay their tiny eggs within the cellular fibers of the papyrus and the eggs were so tiny and hardy that they withstood the rigorous preparations of the raw plant into broad flattened sheets on which the elder scribes recorded the histories then rolled them up to be catalogued and stored for future generation to review.
The problem was, after several months of gestation, the eggs would hatch and the tiny achmeds would proceed to eat their surrounding habitat with gusto, much like so many insects that feed off their initial environment. The results of course, were disastrous. Within a few days all that would be left would be a pile of achmedorian poop and the colorful ribbon the scribes used to tie up the edifying recordings of the doings of the pharaohs.
As a result, the apprentice scribes were assigned to spend two years in service going through the vast libraries of scrolls and...count the ants and smush them. They later became know as simply the countants. As the years went by the young scribes would proudly declare, when they were asked what they did all day under the pyramids..."I am a countant."
Then after books were invented and business became more complex it became the task of the accountant to not only see that records weren't destroyed by pests but that the doings of the businesses were kept in order and blanced. The tern "balancing the books" is another topic to be addressed in the future. :>(