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The first wish made by the Whites is made in laughter and little hope - they don't believe in the paw, but are drawn to wish anyway, for the fun. Mr. White wishes for 200 pounds. The consequence is that Herbert is killed in an accident at work and the family receives the 200 pounds in compensation.
The next wish is made is all seriousness and from a place of grief. At the request of Mrs. White, Mr. White wishes for Herbert to be alive again. Herbert awakens in his grave, climbs out, and comes home to bang on the door and be let in.
The last wish is made out of fear. Mr. White, scared of what his living dead son will look and be like, wishes for Herbert to return to the grave. When Mrs. White gets the door open, Herbert is gone - the wish has worked.
The Monkey's Paw tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. White. They come into possession of a magical monkey's paw. The monkey's paw is said to have the power to grant three wishes, but Mr. and Mrs. White are warned that their is a price that comes with the wishes.
While at first the White's don't believe in the monkey's paw, they decide to make a wish anyway. Mr. White wants 200 pounds to pay off his house. They jokingly make the wish and go to bed. Their son, Herbert, gets up to get ready for work. He goes to work and has an accident at work and dies. Mr. and Mrs. White are notified and it is known that Herbert has insurance through work. The amount of the insurance is 200 pounds, exactly the amount the White's wished for. The White's are thrown into a great depression. Mrs. White can't seem to get over the loss of her only child. She asks Mr. White to make a wish for their son to come back to them. Mr. White is uncomfortable in doing this, but for the sake for his wife, he makes the wish. In the night Herbert comes back to life and makes his way home. He is heard banging on the door, to get inside. Mrs. White is thrilled to have her son back, but Mr. White realizes that Herbert has not come back as their son. As Mrs. White makes her way to open the door for her son, Mr. White makes his final wish. He wishes that his son was still dead. When Mrs. White opens the door, she opens it to find no one there.
The whole story is a story about the consequences of being careful what you wish for. Mr. and Mrs. White, had made very selfish wishes, and in the end they realize the error or their ways, but at the cost of the one thing they loved the most.
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