The Monkey

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"The Monkey"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Horror short story
Published in Skeleton Crew
Publication type Magazine
Media type Print (Periodical)
Publication date November 1980

"The Monkey" is a short story by Stephen King, first published in Gallery magazine in 1980. It was significantly revised and published in King's collection Skeleton Crew in 1985.

Plot summary[edit]

The story starts with two young brothers, Petey and Dennis, finding a toy wind-up monkey in the attic of their father's uncle's home, where he had grown up. Bit by bit, it's revealed that their father, Hal had found the toy monkey in his father's old chest (his father had been a merchant mariner who disappeared under mysterious circumstances; at some point in the story, Hal suspects that the monkey led to his father going missing). The monkey is actually somewhat haunted, and every time it claps its mechanical cymbals together (sometimes on its own), someone close to Hal dies. Hal had been tormented by the monkey as a child, when it worked its lethal enchantment on his family and friends and killed them off, until Hal had chucked it down the old well at the home of his uncle and aunt. In the present, Hal takes the monkey and throws it in Crystal Lake, hoping that it will be finished once and or all, and it won't kill anyone again. The story ends with an excerpt of a newspaper article which reports on a mysterious die-off of fish in the lake.

Similar stories[edit]

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.

The film The Devil's Gift is very similar to "The Monkey," leading some to believe that the filmmakers plagiarized the story.[1][2] The Devil's Gift was later re-edited as the second story in the film Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, which was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In the Supernatural episode "Home", the evil entity of the episode possesses a toy monkey with cymbals, which turned on the garbage disposal while a plumber was working with the sink.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Devil's Gift (1984)". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  2. ^ "Reviews of The Devil's Gift". The Cold Spot. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 

External links[edit]