Daniel shook his head to get the water out of his eyes and grinned. He always felt so alive when he was swimming in the river. He loved the tingle of the cold water on his warm skin and the feel of his heart thumping in his chest. He was a fast swimmer, the fastest of all the boys in his village. He looked around him curiously. He didn't usually swim up-river. Until last week he has always swum down-river but one day last week, just as he was approaching the town, he had heard a scuffling in the bushes. He had looked up to three boys who started throwing things at him. DANIEL had turned round and tried to swim home as fast as he could, but it was hard swimming against the river's current so the boys, who were walking along the bank, kept up with him easily. Eventually, one of them threw a big stone which hit DANIEL on the back of the head. DANIEL felt the tears pricking the back of his eyes and warm blood on his neck. He swam faster, vowing that he would never swim down-river again. So today, he had swum up-river. He couldn't believe that he had never swum this way before. It was so beautiful. But he was getting tired so he made his way into the strong current and let it carry him towards home. As he approached his village, he saw his mother. He raised his arm to wave but heard her shouting: “Keep swimming! Rescue the little girl!" She was pointing down-river at a speck in the distance. Forgetting his tiredness and his vow, he increased his efforts and swam with the current as fast as he could. He could just make out the girl's head bobbing up once, and then disappearing under the water. He swam faster still. The head bobbed up again, closer this time, and he heard a cry before the girl was dragged under the water. DANIEL was concentrating so hard on the girl that he didn't notice the boys in the bushes. He only knew they were there when a stone hit him on the back of the head. For a moment, there was so much pain that he couldn't see. Then he shook his head. The girl. Gathering the last of his energy, he took off again, reaching the little black head as the girl went down for the third time. DANIEL carried the little girl towards the river bank. She was sobbing and clinging to him. To his surprise, the hands that reached down to help her out of the water belonged to the stone-throwing boys. When the little girl was safe, the hands stretched down to help DANIEL out too. He hesitated. "Don't worry," said a voice. "We didn't realise you were trying to rescue the little girl. Anyway, we only threw stones at you for fun. We throw stones at everything in the river." DANIEL took the offered hand. Once on the bank he sat down, his head drooping with exhaustion. A barefooted boy let out a gasp of horror. "You're bleeding!" he exclaimed. DANIEL just looked at him. Suddenly there was a commotion as a truck drew up behind them. Out leapt the little girl's mother, closely followed by DANIEL'S mother. She hugged him tight and kissed him on both cheeks. "You're a hero!" she said. "Do you want to swim back or do you want to come with us?" "I'll come with you, " said DANIEL. "I've done enough swimming for one day."