The story centers on a cymbal-banging monkey toy with supernatural powers. Every time the monkey claps its little cymbals together, a nearby living thing dies. The monkey is found in a family's attic in an old toy chest by two young brothers, Petey and Dennis, unknowing that their father, Hal, had been tormented by the monkey years ago, when it worked its lethal enchantment on his family and friends, until Hal had chucked it down the old well at the home of his uncle and aunt. Hal takes the monkey and throws it in Crystal Lake, hoping that it won't be able to escape from it. The story ends with an excerpt of a newspaper article which reports on a mysterious die-off of fish in the lake.
The X-Files episode "Chinga", scripted by Stephen King, deals with a cursed doll and bears similarities to "The Monkey". This doll, which deals out suffering in much the same way as the monkey, also finds itself sinking to the bottom of a lake at the end of the episode.