The story centers on a cymbal-banging monkey toy that is possessed by an evil spirit. 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, unknowing that their father had been tormented by the monkey years ago, when it worked its lethal enchantment on his family and friends. The dad takes the monkey and throws it in the lake in his backyard. 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.