1. Mr. White and his son are playing chess, waiting for the arrival of their visitor, Sergeant Major Morris.
2. Morris arrives and shows them the monkey's paw, telling them of its unusual history, and how it grants three wishes to its owner.
3. Morris tosses the paw into the fire, but Mr. White retrieves it.
4. After purchasing the paw from Morris, Morris leaves, and Mr. White wishes for 200 pounds, the approximate amount needed to pay off what is owed on their home.
5. The next day, the Whites are notified that their son, Herbert, has died in a tragic accident at work. The representative from work offers the Whites 200 pounds as insurance compensation.
6. The grieving Mrs. White suggests they make a second wish--that Herbert should come back to life.
7. Shortly afterward they hear a knock on the door. They believe it to be Herbert, returning from the dead.
8. The Whites also realize that Herbdert may return in his mangled form, so before opening the door, Mr. White makes his third wish.
9. The wish is unknown, but when he opens the door, no one is there.