The story takes place in Europe. It occurs in the late 1800's. It is cold outside, and it is evening. The characters are introduced as, Mr. and Mrs. White and Herbert. They live in the Laburnum Villa which is located in the countryside. Mr. White invites a man over named Sargent Major Morris who brings a magical object.
Herbert, is that you?
Sargent Major Morris talks about how the monkey's paw has 3 wishes cast upon it for 3 different men. He explains that a person has wished upon it before but the wishes were unknown except the Sargent only knew that the man before had wished for death. He throws it over the fire as Mr. White quickly pulls it out. Major Morris quickly explains to him about the consequences of the paw.
Herbert tells his father to wish for 200 pounds to pay off the house. Mr. White appeals to his wife and son that the paw had moved in his hands. Herbert jokes about he money randomly appearing on their bed out of know where. The parents walk up to bed, and Herbert stays near the fire. He sees a monkey like figure in the fire looking upon him. The next morning, Mr. and Mrs. White send Herbert to work. A messenger delivers a message to the White's saying their son has died.
One night, Mr. White finds his wife by the window. He asks her whats wrong, and she says the paw has 3 wishes and they have 2 left. Mrs. White tells Mr. White to wish their son alive again. He did, and nothing happens so they go back up to bed and then there is a knock on the door. Mrs. White rushes down the stairs, and is trying to unlock the door.
Mr. White is struggling to find the monkey's paw and when he does, he wishes for something, and the knocking expires. Mrs. White opens the door to see that her son has not appeared. A cold wind rushed up the stairs. And a loud wail of disappointment came from downstairs.
Where is my boy?
Mr. White felt brave enough to run down to his wife, then out to the gate. The street lamp was flickering, and the road in front of him appeared deserted.