When Sergeant-Major Morris throws the monkey's paw into the fire in W. W. Jacobs's short story "The Monkey's Paw," he seems to do so casually, resignedly, even somewhat disdainfully:
He took the paw, and dangling it between his forefinger and thumb, suddenly threw it upon the fire.
When Mr. White first inquires about the monkey's paw a bit earlier, the sergeant-major responds dismissively:
"What was that you started telling me the other day about a monkey's paw or something, Morris?"
"Nothing," said the soldier, hastily. "Leastways nothing worth hearing .... it's just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps," said the sergeant-major, offhandedly.
Sergeant-Major Morris explains that the monkey's paw had a spell put on it by an old holy man who claimed that he wanted people to realize that fate rules their lives "and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow." The sergeant-major throws the monkey's paw into the fire to rid himself of the stigma of it, to release himself from his own memories of it, to relieve himself of the responsibility for it, and to spare the White family from the dreadful consequences of its use.
But Mr. White snatches the paw out of the fire. "Better let it burn," the sergeant-major says solemnly to Mr. White. "If you keep it," he says, "don't blame me for what happens."
Sergeant-Major Morris doesn't reveal to the Whites what his own three wishes were, but he says that although he doesn't know what the first two wishes of the previous owner of the monkey's paw were, "the third was for death."
A little later, Mr. White asks Sergeant-Major Morris how to use the paw. The sergeant-major responds that he should simply raise his right hand and make his wish aloud, but the sergeant-major again reinforces his earlier comment about people coming to sorrow—"but I warn you of the consequences."
In time, Sergeant-Major Morris leaves the company of the Whites to catch the last train back to his home, but not without again urging Mr. White to throw away the monkey's paw.
Mr. and Mrs. White and their son, Herbert, make fun of the sergeant-major's dire warnings, but all of them come to realize and experience exactly what Sergeant-Major Morris meant by the unintended "consequences" of the paw's use.