The Monkey's Paw

"The Monkey's Paw" is a supernatural short story by author W. W. Jacobs first published in England in the collection The Lady of the Barge in 1902.

Genre: Short story
Year:
1902
1,114 Views

								
"If you don't want it, Morris," said the other, "give it to me." "I won't," said his friend, doggedly. "I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don't blame me for what happens. Pitch it on the fire again like a sensible man." The other shook his head and examined his new possession closely. "How do you do it?" he inquired. "Hold it up in your right hand and wish aloud," said the sergeant-major, "but I warn you of the consequences." "Sounds like the Arabian Nights," said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?" Her husband drew the talisman from pocket, and then all three burst into laughter as the sergeant-major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm. "If you must wish," he said, gruffly, "wish for something sensible." Mr. White dropped it back in his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his friend to the table. In the business of supper the talisman was partly forgotten, and afterward the three sat listening in an enthralled fashion to a second instalment of the soldier's adventures in India. "If the tale about the monkey's paw is not more truthful than those he has been telling us," said Herbert, as the door closed behind their guest, just in time for him to catch the last train, "we sha'nt make much out of it." "Did you give him anything for it, father?" inquired Mrs. White, regarding her husband closely. "A trifle," said he, colouring slightly. "He didn't want it, but I made him take it. And he pressed me again to throw it away." "Likely," said Herbert, with pretended horror. "Why, we're going to be rich, and famous and happy. Wish to be an emperor, father, to begin with; then you can't be henpecked." He darted round the table, pursued by the maligned Mrs. White armed with an antimacassar. Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. "I don't know what to wish for, and that's a fact," he said, slowly. "It seems to me I've got all I want." "If you only cleared the house, you'd be quite happy, wouldn't you?" said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. "Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that 'll just do it." His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the talisman, as his son, with a solemn face, somewhat marred by a wink at his mother, sat down at the piano and struck a few impressive chords. "I wish for two hundred pounds," said the old man distinctly. A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him. "It moved," he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. "As I wished, it twisted in my hand like a snake."
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W. W. Jacobs

William Wymark Jacobs, known as W. W. Jacobs, was an English author of short stories and novels. Although much of his work was humorous, he is most famous for his horror story "The Monkey's Paw". more…

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