The Monkey's Paw (Jacobs)

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The Monkey's Paw
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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An old man acquired a magical talisman that granted three wishes. Despite warnings, he wished for money, resulting in his son's death. Desperate, his wife urged him to wish their son back, but the final wish only brought more pain and suffering.

In a small, cozy house, an old man named Mr. White lived with his wife and their son, Herbert.

Mr. White — an old man; father of Herbert and husband of Mrs. White; curious and somewhat credulous; acquires the monkey's paw and makes the wishes.
Mrs. White — an old woman; mother of Herbert and wife of Mr. White; initially skeptical about the monkey's paw, but later becomes desperate to bring her son back to life.
Herbert White — the son of Mr. and Mrs. White; young, lighthearted, and somewhat sarcastic; dies as a result of the first wish made on the monkey's paw.

One cold and wet night, the family was visited by a friend, Sergeant-Major Morris, who had recently returned from India. As they sat around the fire, Morris told them about his adventures and showed them a mysterious object he had acquired - a dried monkey's paw. He explained that the paw had a spell put on it by an old Fakir, which granted three wishes to three different men.

"It had a spell put on it by an old Fakir," said the Sergeant-Major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

Despite Morris's warnings about the consequences of using the paw, Mr. White decided to keep it and wished for £200. The next day, a representative from the company where Herbert worked arrived at their house to inform them that their son had been killed in a machinery accident. As compensation, the company offered the Whites £200, the exact amount Mr. White had wished for.

Devastated by the loss of their son, Mrs. White became desperate and urged her husband to use the monkey's paw to wish Herbert back to life. Reluctantly, Mr. White made the wish, and soon after, they heard knocking on their front door. Fearing the consequences of his wish, Mr. White quickly used the paw to make his third and final wish before opening the door.

He raised his hand. "I wish my son alive again." The talisman fell to the floor, and he regarded it fearfully.

When they opened the door, the street was empty, and their son was nowhere to be found. The Whites were left to face the harsh reality that their son was gone forever, and the monkey's paw had only brought them pain and suffering. The story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of tampering with fate and the unintended consequences that can come from seemingly harmless desires.