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"The Monkey's Paw"
W. W. Jacobs
adapted by Don Kisner and Dennis Rhodus

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Synopsis of the play.

On a wet and windy night, John White, along with his wife and son, Herbert, await the arrival of an old friend, Sergeant Morris, who has been stationed in India for several years and has just recently returned home.

When the guest arrives, the conversation soon turns to the mysteries of India. Mr. White is fascinated by the discussion of far away places and ideas. During the conversation, we learn that Morris has brought back a very unusual artifact--the mummified paw of a monkey which carries with it a magic spell which can bring three different men three separate wishes.

Morris makes it very clear that though the wishes are always granted, the results always bring disaster. He explains that he had gotten the paw from it's first owner--whose third and last wish was for death. Morris also explains that he himself had three wishes--thus leaving one more set of three wishes.

The Sergeant, feeling that the paw has done enough damage, throws it into the fireplace to burn. Mr. White grabs it from the fire, and Morris warns White that he should let it burn. Mr. White, though, keeps the paw and even forces Morris to accept a few dollars for it.

After dinner Sergeant Morris leaves. Herbert scoffs and makes fun of the idea that the paw can make wishes come true, but recommends that his father wish for twenty-five thousand dollars. Herbert, who works the late shift at a nearby dam, leaves for work, and Mr. and Mrs. White go to bed.

The next morning, while the Whites are fixing breakfast, a man from the dam comes to tell them that Herbert has been killed in an accident at work and that they are named as beneficiary on the insurance policy--a policy for twenty-five thousand dollars.

The Whites bury their son in a nearby cemetery. A few days later, the distraught Mrs. White remembers the monkey's paw and its two remaining wishes and insists that her husband wish Herbert back to life. Later there is a pounding at the front door, but the latch is stuck. Mrs. White, believing it is Herbert, hurries down to open the door. The door latch is stuck; an instant before Mrs. White can get the door to open, Mr. White grabs the paw and makes a final wish. He wishes his son dead and at peace. The knocking ceases.

 

 
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Last modified: June 04, 2015