Monday, October 19, 2009

The Monkey's Paw L1

Chapter One

It was cold and dark out in the road and the rain did not stop for a minute. But in the middle of the living room of number 12 Castle Road it was nice and warm. Old Mr. White and his son, Herbert, played chess and Mrs. White sat and watched them. The old woman was happy because her husband and her son were food friends and liked to be together. “Herbert’s a good son,” she thought. “We waited a long time for him and I was nearly forty when he was born, but we are happy family.” And old Mrs. White smiled.

It was true. Herbert was young and laughed a lot, but his mother and his father laughed with him. They didn’t have much but they were a very happy little family.

The two men did not talk because they played carefully. The room was quiet, but the noise of the rain was worse now and they could hear it on the windows. Suddenly old Mr. White looked up. “Listen to the rain,” he said.

“Yes, it’s a bad night,” Herbert answered (an serd). “It’s not a good night to be out, but is your friend, Tom Morris, coming tonight?”

“Yes, that’s right. He’s coming at about seven o’clock,” the old man said. “But perhaps this rain…”

Mr. White did not finish because just then the young man heard a noise.

“Listen,” Herbert said. “There’s someone at the door now.”

“I didn’t hear a noise,” his father answered, but he got up from his chair and went to open the front door. Mrs. White got up too and began to put things away.

Mr. White said, “Come in, come in, Tom. It’s wonderful to see you again. What a bad night. Give me your coat and then come into the living room. It’s nice and warm in here.”

The front door was open and in the living room Mrs. White and Herbert felt the cold. Then Mr. White came back into the living room with a big, red-faced man.

“This is Tom Morris,” Mr. White told his wife and son. “We were friends when we were young. We worked together before Tom went to India. Tom, this is my wife and this is our son, Herbert.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Tom Morris said.

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Morris,” Mrs. White answered. “Please come and sit down.”

“Yes, come on, Tom,” Mr. White said. “Over here. It’s nice and warm.”

“Thank you,” the big man answered and he sat down.

“Let’s have some whiskey,” old Mr. White said. “You need something to warm you on a cold night.” He got out a bottle of whiskey and the two old friends began to drink and talk. The little family listened with interest to this visitor from far away and he told them many strange stories.

Chapter Two
After some time Mr. Morris stopped talking and Mr. White said to his wife and son, “Tom was a soldier in India for twenty-one years. India is a wonderful country.”

“Yes,” Herbert said. “I’d like to go there.”

“Oh, Herbert,” his mother cried. She was afraid because she did not want to lose her son.

“I wanted to go to India, too,” her husband said, “but…”

“It’s better for you here,” the soldier said quickly.

“But you saw a lot of strange and wonderful things in India. I want to see them too one day,” Mr. White said.

The soldier put down his whiskey. “No,” he cried. “Stay here!”

Old Mr. White did not stop. “But your stories were interesting,” he said to Tom Morris. “What did you begin to say about a monkey’s paw?”

“Nothing,” Morris answered quickly. “Well…nothing important.”

“A monkey’s paw?” Mrs. White said.

“Come on, Mr. Morris. Tell us about it,” Herbert said.

Mr. Morris took his whiskey in his hand but suddenly put it down again. Slowly he put his hand into the pocket of his coat and the White family watched him.

“What is it? What is it?” Mrs. White cried.

Morris said nothing. He took his hand out of his pocket. The White family watched carefully and in the soldier’s and they saw something little and dirty.

Mrs. White moved back, afraid, but her son, Herbert, took it and looked at it carefully.

“Well, what is it?” Mr. White asked his friend.

“Look at it,” the soldier answered. “It’s a little paw…a monkey’s paw.”

“A monkey’s paw,” Herbert said and he laughed. “Why do you carry a monkey’s paw in your pocket, Mr. Morris?” he asked the old soldier.

“Well, you see,” Morris said, “this monkey’s paw is magic.”

Herbert laughed again, but the soldier said, “Don’t laugh, boy. Remember, you’re young. I’m old now and in India I saw many strange things.” He stopped talking for a minute and then said, “This monkey’s paw can do strange and wonderful things. An old Indian gave the paw to one of my friends. My friend was a soldier, too. This paw is magic because it can give three wishes to three people.”

“Wonderful,” Herbert said.

“But these three wishes don’t bring happiness,” the soldier said. “The old Indian wanted to teach us something: it’s never good to want to change things.”

“Well, did your friend have three wishes?” Herbert asked the old soldier.

“Yes,” Morris answered quietly. “And his third and last wish was to die.”

Mr. and Mrs. White listened to the story and they felt afraid, but Herbert asked, “And did he die?”

“Yes, he did,” Morris said. “He had no family so his things came to me when he died. The monkey’s paw was with the things, but he told me about it before he died,” Tom Morris finished quietly.

“What were his first tow wishes, then?” Herbert asked. “What did he ask for?”

I don’t know. He didn’t want to tell me,” the soldier answered.

For a minute or two everybody was quiet, but then Herbert said, “And you, Mr. Morris, did you have three wishes?”