EP070: Squonk the Dragon

(Technical Note: This is a corrected version of the sound file; my original one had a cut-and-paste glitch in the outro. Apologies to anyone who gets a duplicate, and thanks to Tony Mast of the Fanboy Smackdown podcast for pointing out the error.)

By Pete Butler.
Read by Stephen Eley and Anna Eley.

Squonk lived with his mother, who was definitely not a dragon–she was a small blue bird named Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp. Now, it is true that birds generally cannot lay dragon eggs, and Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp was no exception. But, they can care for dragon eggs that they happen to find lying untended in the middle of the forest, assuming they are suitably ambitious.

Rated G. This is a children’s story. Have Fun.

Referenced sites:
Variant Frequencies

Comments (38)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jennifer says:

    Aw, that was cute!

  2. Walid Safwat says:

    Is there a reason why I can’t download this episode into my itunes library??? neither directly from the website or via the itunes store.???

  3. Dale says:

    Anna Eley has a great motherly voice. Esp when she’s talking like a bird.

  4. Colin F says:

    A fun story! Enjoyed it and might actually try playing it to my son …

    I always enjoy Anna’s readings and this was no exception.

    As ever, keep up the good work.

  5. High School Girl says:

    Wo0t! i loved the duel reading! it made the story more interesting, and Mrs. Eley has such an awesome reading voice. It is a real treat to listen to her read something.

  6. Bela says:

    I loved it!!!! That was an exellent fairy tale. I am so happy that this day there are good fairy tales created, not just cheesy children books.

  7. I enjoy the edgier stuff, but this was fresh and excellent too. Agree with High School Girl: having two narrators created a cool dynamic. And you and your wife make a good team.

    Hope to submit my own stories someday– I know the tension you describe, juggling work/family/big-long-project and finding “writing” not merely on the back burner but cooling on the countertop. Maybe when I finish my degree… or my house… or when the writer trapped inside me gets desperate enough to do something drastic…

  8. Tom says:

    This was a fun little story.

    It brings up the question of nature vs. nuture. Would all dragons be nice and pleasant creatures if they were brought up by a loving and caring mother? Or does it also depend on the kind of dragon?

    Of course the money for such a large and long term study would be very hard to come by. It’s such a shame that money always gets in the way of important science.

  9. Magess says:

    It was really neat the way you two read the story at the same time. I wonder if that would work with anything but a children’s story?

  10. Wei-wei says:

    I liked the story about the magician and the dragon raised by a bird. It was neat.

    Wei-wei (11)

  11. normalabnormal says:

    I like that a lot. Very well done to both of you and the author. Since you said his other stuff was a little dark for EscapePod I really hope to hear more of his work on PseudoPod. He crafts a solid story if this is an example. Also a special kudo to Anna, I’ve always enjoyed her readings and this was no exception.

  12. Chris says:

    I absolutely loved the tandem reading. 🙂 I don’t know if it would work for other stories, but my goodness, it worked for this one.

  13. Chris says:

    You know, every once in a while, I need a reminder that “family friendly” does not mean “watered-down pap with a saccharine ending.” Entries in this category include the films “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Wallace and Gromit,” while literature has been limited to the “Harry Potter” series.

    Add “Squonk the Dragon” to that list.

    It was a fun little story, with Mrs. Tweedle-chirp almost stealing the show, especially as voiced by Mrs. Eley. Squonk’s use of “Woodpecker Fu” was probably my favorite part, causing me to stop what I was doing at the time so I could laugh out loud.

    Edgy sci-fi is nice and is what I usually look forward to, but I had forgotten how much I liked these “nicer” stories.


  14. Walid Safwat says:

    this will not be added to my list of “do-not-delete” stories… I should have listened to the warning at the begining of the the podcast… nonetheless It was fun..

  15. George says:

    I really enjoyed this story (though not as much as Shadowboxing). Please consider regularly incorporating G-rated stories, so long as they’re as fun and clever as Squonk.

  16. Mahrve says:

    This is a truly great story, for kids and adults alike!

    It would be a great project, to translate and illustrate the story as a children’s book. Does anyone know what kind of permissions/contacts I would have to seek if I would to endeavour such a task?


  17. Pete Butler says:

    Mahrve —

    Well, I’d start with the author. Namely, me. 🙂 Off the top of my head, I don’t recall which rights Steve purchased, but I’m pretty sure they don’t preclude any print excursions.

    Feel free to shoot me an email: pete at blairhippo dot com. I’m quite amenable to Squonk seeing print; let’s talk. 🙂

    To everybody else who posted, thank you so much for the kind words; I’m glad this story found an audience. It was a lot of fun to write. I never MEANT to write a kids’ story, but as this tale unfolded, there was an innocence to it that I found very appealing and did my best to preserve.

  18. Spork says:

    I really have no desire to listen to that Balti-moron accent, and the high-pitched squealing was nerve shredding.

  19. Jim says:

    This was a really great story, and just happened to come at a time when I needed something to cheer me up.

    Also, I’ll be sharing this with my fiance. I’m sure she’ll enjoy it. Maybe I can convince her to draw something…

  20. Steven Saus says:

    I’ve just caught up with Escape Pod, and happened to listen to _Squonk_ with my son. I don’t think I’ll soon forget it.

    He’s adopted. He knows it, and knows who his birth mother is – even though she gave him up when he was six months old.

    My wife and I still get comments similar to “Oh, you’re not his REAL parents”. As much as we try to defend him against those hateful sentiments, he occasionally hears them.

    _Squonk_ made him laugh. It made me laugh and cry – happily.


  21. Josh K. says:

    This was a great story, and it was read so well by Steve Eley and Anna Eley.

  22. Nuchtchas says:

    I too would love to purchase Squonk in print as a children’s book to give to all 13 of my nieces and nephews and more! I too agree that it is perfect for adopted kids, parents who have adopted, siblings and more. My brother is adopted, actually I have two adopted brothers and I want to explode when I hear people ask “So how many real brothers and sisters do you have?” And when I reply the same number including my brothers people get a bit irate and that gives me full excuse for chewing them out for saying my brothers are not real brothers. I grew up with them, one was adopted when he was two weeks old, he has never met his birth parents and never will due to the circumstances, we are his family there is no if ends or buts! My other adopted brother was in High School when he was adopted. He was a vietnamese refugee, he had a living birth mother that raised him till he was 10 or 12 (we are not sure about all the ages) he had a bological brother here in the states and tons more in vietnam, but we were his family. He moved in with us and became part of our family. I am younger and was in the 3rd grade when I first met him, he is my brother. He took our family name when he became as citizen as his middle name, and when he died of a heart attack two years ago his biological brother was there, and two others who came over in recent years. A biological cousin, his wife and her family, but everyone there knew my mother was his mom, and there was no question of who we were. He was my brother, real, no matter what. They both are.

    I think this story speaks to adults and children, and Steve I am holding you respondsible that if any news of this coming out in print you will let us all know so we can buy dozens of copies!

  23. Jim Harper says:

    Nice story, Butler, and you should consider getting together with a good illustrator. I’m gonna assume that Eley’s a second-generation fan from the Balto-Wash Area. How the “Baltimoron” accent has survived to this day, I don’t understand — notice that all teenage girls sound the same, be they from San Diego or Atlanta — it’s TV & travel. We adopted a Korean; nobody ever bothered to exclaim “They’re not your REAL parents!” Maybe fear of seeming rather stupid?

  24. iwbyte says:

    Great story, both in content and delivery, but most importantly (for me) Its the first EscapePod story that I could play for my elementary school carpool. We’ve got a 20 minute drive each way, and so we’re always looking for good kid-friendly podcasts. Most of your ‘G’ rated stories usually include foul language, or are too complicated for my 1st-6th graders to understand.
    Keep up the good work!

  25. Bryan says:

    I don’t remember if it was in this episode or another but Steve mentioned a G rated feed that someone had put together based on the CC license. Does anyone have the link for this? Thanks.

  26. SFEley says:

    Hi Bryan,

    That feed is Escape Pod Classic at:


    Thanks, and enjoy!

  27. hamSTAR says:

    Long-time fan of EscapePod, even though some weeks I simply can’t keep up. I’m excited because after our state testing, this will be one I can share with my 3rd graders this year, a real “storytime” just for a good story’s sake.

  28. BrandtPileggi says:

    I thought the story was fun. Although, After hearing all of his other stories were rejected for being too dark, I wonder how far away Chuckles Mulroony was sitting when this was written. lol. It was a nice story to shake things up.

  29. Amber says:

    That’s cute, and not quite what I’m used to on escape pod… still, I’m glad I took the time to hear it…

  30. […] ‘read more’) (The member is Pete Butler of WorD, whose stories Squonk the Dragon, Squonk the Apprentice, and Lust for Learning are all available as past podcasts, and well worth […]

  31. thatalexgirl says:

    haha that was good. my sister (4 years old) always begs to listen to it every time we’re in the car now!! I also used this story as a basis for a legend I had to write for an English class, and turned out pretty good. =]

  32. […] und alle anderen Menschen: Squonk the Dragon, dann Squonk the […]

  33. scatterbrain says:

    I do believe this is the most enjoyable escapepod I’ve listened to of the 30+ I already have.

    A great tale.

  34. Books says:

    That’s cute, and not quite what I’m used to on escape pod… still, I’m glad I took the time to hear it…

    Joshua Books

  35. I absolutely loved the tandem reading

  36. Constant Listener says:

    At the point where one of the characters was introduced as “Mrs. Tweedlechirp,” at that point dear readers, Tonstant Wistender fwowed up.

  37. […] most successful works to date have been the Squonk stories: “Squonk the Dragon” and “Squonk the Apprentice,” available over at Escape Pod. They’re about a dragon raised by a […]