It was rainy and cold the other night and I was going through some books on my shelf, looking to see what I felt like reading. I picked up my big old Barnes and Noble collector’s copy of Classic Horror Stories and checked to see where I had left the bookmark. It rested on W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw” and I got a flash back to high school, reading my assigned copy in the library with awe and getting chills as the tale went on. We were doing our unit on supernatural fiction in English and we had just finished Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” which also had me totally hooked. I hadn’t read anything like this stuff so it was all new and amazing to me.
I haven’t read the story in about six years so I decided to pull up a narration on Youtube and read along in my book while I made some coffee and the rain poured outside.
“The Monkey’s Paw” is a very short story about desires and consequences. Mr. and Mrs. White and their adult son Herbert are visited by an old army friend Morris. He speaks of a magical and cursed talisman that grants three wishes but in disturbing, twisted ways. The Whites find this very amusing until Mr. White makes his first wish and it’s granted.
This is such a cool story, referenced in popular culture all the time, and I’m very happy my teachers introduced us to it in class. I didn’t get that same level of awe the second time around because it was familiar but I still really enjoyed it and got chills a couple of times. The narration I found had sound effects and very decent voice actors for all of the characters. I recommend listening to it and reading along for the full effect. The audio was by the channel Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.
And remember: be careful what you wish for… *evil laugh*