The powers of the monkey's paw are similar to another fictional tale, that of Aladdin's Lamp, an old folk story that appeared in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights). Aladdin finds a magic lamp, rubs it, and a genie appears who grants his wishes. In "The Monkey's Paw," the shriveled paw will provide three wishes to three different owners, according to its second and present owner, Sergeant-Major Morris. W. W. Jacobs' story also follows the old premise that has been tossed around for centuries: If you could have three wishes come true, what would they be? The wishes that materialize through the monkey's paw, however, though always granted, come with a bizarre twist. Death appears to follow the wishes of the paw: The first owner uses his final wish to ask for death because his previous granted wishes apparently materialized in a tragic manner; poor Herbert suffers the same fate, though monetary wealth is granted through his death. Each owner of the talisman have their three wishes come true, but (apparently) always at a terrible price. Another superstition the paw projects is how
"... fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."
The paw also relates to another old warning: to watch out what you wish for, for it might actually come true.