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EP109: Squonk the Apprentice

By P.M. Butler.
Read by Stephen and Anna Eley.

“What’s a ‘prentice?”

Without thinking, Wendel answered. “An apprentice is young person who wants to be a wizard, so they find an older wizard to teach them.”

The moment the words left his mouth, Wendel’s heart stopped and his eyes went wide. If he’d known a spell that could grab those words and stuff them back down his throat, he would have cast it.

Instead, those words scampered all the way across his bedroom, as words are inclined to do, and rushed into the ears of the dragon in the window. Wendel watched in horror as the words sunk into Squonk’s brain. Squonk’s eyes grew wide, his mouth dropped open, and before Wendel could think of anything to say–

“You can learn to be a wizard?! That’s awesome! I wanna be a wizard! Lemme be your ‘prentice!”

Rated G. It’s a children’s story about a dragon raised by a bluebird. Set content expectations accordingly.

Referenced Sites:

EP070: Squonk the Dragon

“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman

2007 Hugo Nominees

Comments (22)

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  1. deflective says:

    the link for ‘how to talk to girls at parties':
    http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/shortstories/partiesstoryaudio

  2. Photojoe says:

    A message to Escape Pod from my six year old:
    Squonk! Thank you!

    From my two year old:
    Birdy no get dragon baby. Birdy get birdy baby!

  3. Squonk makes me happy.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, this was adorable! Love Squonk! There’s going to be a third story, right? :)

  5. rob says:

    LOVE IT! that story reminds me of the books i read when i was a kid. thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  6. BrandtPileggi says:

    Okay… So I thought Sqounk was such a cop out by someone with a delightfully twisted mind. But now I find myself enjoying it like… mumbles spongebobsquarepants leaves quickly before the laughter

  7. […] MY PODCATCHER Escape Pod – this week: Squonk the Apprentice by P.M. […]

  8. Loved the reading! You guys do the voices so well. The story dragged a bit in the flower-picking scenes IMNSHO, but the squirrel intermezzo had me laughing out loud. I’m gonna try Squonk on my 9-year old, a young fantasy fan who has taught himself English by playing flash games on the net.

  9. shepherd says:

    More Anna Eley.

  10. This was one of the cutest most adorable kid-friendly stories I’ve ever heard (next to The Radio Adventures of Doctor Floyd). I absolutely loved it. The kid in me rejoiced and did cartwheels inside my head.

  11. Martin R says:

    9-y-o Samuel just listened to the two Squonk episodes and absolutely loved them. He can’t wait until the third one. I’m gonna try Dr. Floyd on him, thanks for the tip!

  12. Hans Voss says:

    Man, it is so sad that my kids (5 and 2 years old) don’t understand English and probably won’t before they are ‘too old’ for the Squonk stories.

    Now they will probably only enjoy these stories when they are mature enough to no longer care they like ‘childrens stories’. Say in about 30 years time.

  13. Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) says:

    Dang it, I really didn’t want to like this story… sigh But now I want to know how Wendel’s gonna teach a whole forest full of dysfunctional critters to be wizards…

  14. Nora says:

    I think I wet myself laughing when the squirrel and Squonk started talking. Pure Speed Racer cracktasticness!

  15. tim callender (babylon podcast) says:

    What really makes this Squonk story work is toward the end. I knew that somehow Wendell’s brilliant attempt to ditch Squonk – getting his mother’s permission – would backfire. But it was Mrs. Tweedlechirp’s honesty and, yes, thouroughly believable reason for granting permission that made the story ring true. I have two kids- ages 16 and 11 – and I know that all too soon I’ll have to entrust them to whatever awaits them in the world. I just hope that maybe, somewhere, they might find a Wendell who – no matter how grumpy – will show them the beauty and wonder of a world far larger than the nest I’ve provided for them.

  16. Adam DeVeega says:

    I love these Squonk stories because they always have multiple morals, and I can let my five year old listen. The antagonist, Wendell, always gets a suprise at the end that, although begrudgingly, he also is forced into a dynamic character change. I also like the lesson the Squonk teaches my son that if you want something enough, to become a friend or wizard, persistance will win out. I hope there are more where these came from.

  17. […] ‘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 listening to.) Until […]

  18. […] Kinder und alle anderen Menschen: Squonk the Dragon, dann Squonk the Apprentice […]

  19. Constant Listener says:

    When the story introduced a character named “Mrs. Tweedlechirp,” that, dear readers, is the point where Tonstant Wistener fwowed up.

  20. scatterbrain says:

    Finally; a sequel to something that is enjoyable!

  21. […] 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 small blue bird and the […]

  22. […] ep109: squonk the apprentice – by pm butler. read by stephen and anna eley. “what’s a ‘prentice?” without thinking, wendel answered. “an apprentice is young person who wants to be a wizard, so they find an older wizard to teach them.” the moment the words left his … […]