This cautionary tale begins when Major Morris, of the British army in India, shares the tale of a troublesome monkey’s paw with a married couple, Mr. and Mrs. White, and their only son, Herbert. Morris says the superstition is that the paw’s possessor is granted three wishes but that meddling with fate can get quite tricky. Mr. White disregards the old soldier’s warning, and becomes set on retrieving the monkeys paw after Morris has pitched it into a fire.
Once in his possesion, Mr. White wishes for $200, and shotly thereafter Mr. Sampson appears with the news that their son has been killed at work, and that the firm, as a mark of sympathy, is sending $200! The loss of their son leaves the Whites devastated, and Mr. White decides the only option left is to use the second wish to bring back his son. Once he realizes that this kind of request can only end in disaster, he must undo his act and deal with his son’s passing.