On a dark, cold night at Laburnam Villa, the White family is awaiting a visitor. Mr.White and his son Herbert are playing chess while Mrs. White knits by the fire. Sergeant Major Morris arrives and regales the family with tales from his 21 years of traveling to vast exotic places in his tenure as a soldier.
Major Morris warns Mr.White about how dangerous the paw is which was brought back from India. The monkey's paw is bewitched by an old fakir to grant three separate men three separate wishes.
Morris throws the paw into the fire and Mr.White rescues it. Mr.White makes a wish for two hundreds pounds ad loses his son as a result.
The Whites are shaken by how their wish came true and filled them with grief from losing their son. Mrs.White persuades Mr.White to wish that Herbert was alive again. Mr.White finds the paw and makes the wish.