The story is based on the famous "setup" in which three wishes are granted. In the story, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.
I decided to re-read this very short story for the “Short Story peril” option of the RIP challenge.
There is not much to be said about this story without giving anything away, since it is only ten pages long. It shows the reader very clearly what the saying “Be careful what you wish for” means and that everybody who wishes for things does it at his own peril.
The time frame is about a week and in that one week pretty dreadful things happen to Mr. and Mrs. White and their son. Just shows you that you can never be too careful when expressing a wish. I found it quite interesting to hear that the old fakir who put the spell on the monkey’s paw did so to show “that those who interfered with it [i.e. fate] did so to their sorrow”. Unfortunately it seems that for most people that knowledge comes too late. They don’t listen to sound advice but need to know at first hand – and suffer the consequences as a result.
If you would like to read this story and haven’t got it, it is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg as well as a free audio book.