The Tale of the Monkey’s Paw

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Lucky Star.”

My immediate thought upon seeing this prompt was not the tale of Aladdin from the Arabian Nights but of the far more sinister tale of the Monkey’s Paw. It’s been the basis of many a story in many media, the Simpsons parodied it in one of their annual Halloween specials and one of the classic portmanteau movies of the 70,  Tales from the Crypt, made a much more sinister modern take on it.

The basic story is some people acquire the mysterious Monkey’s Paw which can grant three wishes, but until be known to them there is a catch… that of the consequence.  The family is rather poor so they wish for a significant amount of money, the figure is irrelevant so let’s just called it one crapload. The wish is made and about a day later they receive a telegram from the man of the house’s work place telling them that he died in an industrial accident and they offer a cheque for one crapload in compensation.  This being distressing news the family then wish he was alive… the Paw obliges and the man turns up alive, but horribly mangled from the accident.  So they wish him and the previous wishes away. I think the moral of the story is a combination of be careful what you wish for and always think before you make a decision.

The X Files did a similar idea involving a genie where the key was specifics in what you wish for.  It is with this in mind I refuse to fall into the three wishes trap, to have omnipotent power is the undoing of the rational mind, the fuel of greed and selfishness and can only work to seed one’s sense of insecurity.  You have power which ultimately you will lose and no doubt end up being corrupted.  Of course you can be philanthropic and uses your wishes in an altruistic way which may be a get out clause, but how do you choose who to help and what are the consequences for those whom you don’t help? I think the really power of the Monkey’s Paw or the Magic Lamp is having this omnipotent power and not using it, that is the true sign of the strength of humanity.

P’S  If you get round to watching Tales from the Crypt, don’t eat a Spring Roll during the Monkey’s Paw sequence… believe me you’ll get put off.

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