A rustling in the bushes caught his attention. As quietly as possible, he moved away from the apparent source of the noise.
The sun had long set. The thick canopy of the forest was blocking any remnant light, preventing it from illuminating the forest floor, making it difficult for him to spot threats.
As the rustling grew louder, he made sure that the tired small boy was securely tied to his torso, in case he had to run.
Louder and louder, the rustling of grew, as the wild animal moved closer towards him.
Suddenly, the rustling stopped.
The animal moved out of the thicket, and he heaved a sigh of relief. It was a flock of megapodes. Completely harmless.
In the dim light, he struggled to find the path to his village. His mind wandered to the child's worried mother, and how she had come to him for help when her son did not return after running into the forest chasing a gecko.
It was important for him to reach back as soon as possible, since the child was losing blood from his wounds, and needed immediate attention of the village healer. Finally finding the path, he let out a tired sigh. He had a long way to go. Rolling his shoulders, and clutching his wooden sword for reassurance, he doubled his pace.
Walking as fast as he could without disturbing the child, he had already walked a long way. When his muscles began to scream for some rest, he finally spotted the lights that marked the boundaries of his village. He had been walking for a while and was longing for the warmth of his hearth.
"Tatara!" A woman called his name, running towards him. Her voice felt familiar. "Ah, she's the little wanderer's mother!" he remembered, referring to the kid.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" exclaimed the boy's mother. "Thank you so much for bringing him back home." She continued.
Tatara replied with a warm smile on his face: "There is no need to thank me, I'm sure if someone else was present in the situation, they would also have done the same. It is but a neighbour's duty to help another neighbour...."
"...And everyone is each other's neighbours in this village." interjected the Village Healer. " The boy needs my attention. Take him to my hut" said the old woman.
"I will do so, and once again Tatara, thank you very much for your help, may the spirits be with you." hastily replied the woman, trudging towards the Healer's hut.
"Young man, always know that your helping hand and kind heart shall always be valued by the people of this village." said the wrinkled healer as she proceeded to follow the mother-son duo.
"I always will." replied Tatara.