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"Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.

The Monkey's Paw

On a dark and stormy night in England, The Whites – Mr. and Mrs. White and their adult son Herbert – are inside enjoying a cozy evening around the fire.

Soon Sergeant-Major Morris arrives. He's been in the army in India for the past 21 years. He tells the Whites stories of his adventures in that faraway land and shows them a monkey's paw that has the power to grant three wishes. Mr. White wants the paw, but Morris tells him it's cursed – people get hurt when their wishes are granted. He tries to burn the paw in the fire, but Mr. White snatches it up and buys it. After Morris leaves, Mr. White, following Herbert's suggestion, wishes for two hundred pounds, the amount of money he would need to pay off the bank and own the house outright.

The next morning, Herbert goes off to work as usual and Mrs. White watches for the two hundred pounds to show up. In the afternoon, a fancily dressed man pays the Whites a visit. He is from Maw and Meggins, the company Herbert works for. The man tells the Whites that Herbert has been killed in a machinery accident at its factory. The man says that the company takes no blame for Herbert's death but wants to give the Whites two hundred pounds to help with their loss. Mrs. White screams and Mr. White faints.

Full of sadness over Herbert's death, Mr. and Mrs. White bury him in the cemetery two miles from their home. One night Mrs. White gets a bright idea: use those other two wishes to bring Herbert back! She shares her plan with Mr. White. He thinks it's a bad idea – he could barely look at Herbert's mangled body when he went to identify it. His wife really turns up the heat, though, and he caves in. Mr. White pulls out the cursed monkey's paw and wishes Herbert back to life.

Nothing happens, so the Whites go back to bed. Soon after, someone – or something – starts pounding on the door. Mrs. White is sure it's Herbert – it just took him a minute to get there from the cemetery. Mr. White is sure it's Herbert too, and he doesn't want his son to get in the house, so he makes his third wish on the monkey's paw. The knocking stops. Mr. White hears Mrs. White open the door. He hears her scream out in agony because Herbert is not there. He goes outside with her and sees that the road is completely empty.

(The above is an abridged version of the original short story by W.W.Jacobs. I posted an abridged version to fit the CS blog page.
See the unabridged version at:


Comments (7)

hi Socrates wave when I was small I use to wish, nothing happened, no wishes came true, when I was a teen I wished, never came true, so I don't believe in wishes, my girls wish on a shooting star sometimes, I think are you stupid, wishes don't come true, I don't tell them that though, cuz some I guess still need to believe in something that wont happen...a wish, man if only, how life could of been different, but nope........nice blog though, deep and real, thanks teddybear bouquet teddybear
Great parable.....teddybear
And wish wisely also Socra
with the hope of it being granted angel2

A despondent woman was walking along the beach when she saw a bottle on the sand. She picked it up and pulled out the cork. Whoosh! A big puff of smoke appeared.

"You have released me from my prison," the genie told her. "To show my thanks, I grant you three wishes. But take care, for with each wish, your mate will receive double of whatever you request."

"Why?" the woman asked. "That bum left me for another woman."

"That is how it is written," replied the genie.

The woman shrugged and then asked for a million dollars. There was a flash of light, and a million dollars appeared at her feet. At the same instant, in a far-off place, her wayward husband looked down to see twice that amount at his feet.

"And your second wish?"

"Genie, I want the world's most expensive diamond necklace." Another flash of light, and the woman was holding the precious treasure. And, in that distant place, her husband was looking for a gem broker to buy his latest bonanza.

"Genie, is it really true that my husband has two million dollars and more jewels that I do, and that he gets double of whatever I wish for?"

The genie said it was indeed true.

"Okay, genie, I'm ready for my last wish," the woman said. "Scare me half to death."

The unabridged version of this story, for which the link is stated, is an excellent short story for those who are literary-minded. I wish to recommend it to such persons. I remember the story from my boyhood days. We had no TV at that time. We had an old tube short wave radio. The story was a BBC broadcast. The voice dramatization and the background sound was fantastic. I was captivated by the unfolding of the story which was broadcasted in episodes. I eagerly looked forward to each episode which I enjoyed thoroughly. I guess I had a very vivid imagination.

I have heard several persons say that they get a lot more of a story when they read it from a book than viewing it as a film, whether on TV or in a cinema. Perhaps, it has to do with the activity of the imagination. In reading a book, one can pause and allow the imagination to fill in the story in an almost unlimited fashion. Whereas, in watching a film, one has to move along with the story that may leave very little for the imagination since there is a specific presentation of the various scenes and action.

After reading a story first, and viewing it as a film, I usually felt that the film version was not as satisfying as the written version.

This story reminds us that sometimes, in order for something desirable to happen, it may mean having to put it with other consequences that may not be desirable.

Wishing seems to be a part of everyday life. As adults, we encourage children to wish for things, such as when we ask them to blow out the candles on their birthday cake.
Many people make a wish when they see a "shooting" or falling star.
Perhaps, there is a sense of magic in the act of wishing, almost like in fairy tales. Maybe that is why, as you said, "some still need to believe in something that wont happen".

Anyway, as you stated, such wishes are not likely to come true by themselves. We usually have to work towards the actualisation of those wishes.

Thanks for your comment.

Good One!

Your last line: "Scare me half to death."
is a gem.

What a Clever Woman!

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