How do the whites come to own the monkeys paw?
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The story is set in England around the turn of the twentieth century. It opens with the elderly Mr. and Mrs. White and their son Herbert in their cozy family home one stormy evening. Father and son are playing chess while Mrs. White knits by the fire. From their conversation, it is apparent they are expecting a visitor. He soon arrives, and is introduced by Mr. White as Sergeant-Major Morris. The family welcome him warmly, and as he relaxes with a drink, he tells them exciting stories of his time in India (then under British rule). Mr. White remarks that he would like to see the strange and exotic sights of India, but Morris says he's better off at home.
Mr. White remembers the strange tale of a monkey's paw that Morris recently told him. Morris somewhat reluctantly shows them the paw and declares that an old Indian fakir placed a spell on it. As a result, according to Morris, the paw has the power to grant three wishes but brings disaster upon the wisher in the process. Morris then tosses the paw onto the fire, but Mr. White hastily retrieves it. Morris warns him to have nothing to do with the paw. However, the Whites are curious, and Mr. White ends up buying the paw from Morris.