Folktales From Indonesia: Jaka Tarub (East Java Fairy Tales)

Once upon a time, there was a widow who lived in Tarub village. She had a son named Jaka who is usually called Jaka Tarub. Jaka's hobby is shooting the birds.

One day Jaka Tarub went to herd the outs at the edge of the forest. Then he saw a colourful bird perching on the tree. He was excited to that bird, but when he tried to shoot the bird, it flies away to the forest.

Tarub was curious. Then he tried to chase the bird to the woods. Finally, he arrived in the middle of the woods, but he couldn't find the bird. It disappeared. He disappointed and stayed for a moment. Then he heard the laugh of women.

Jaka Tarub approached the source of that laugh. He saw seven women swimming at the river. He spied from behind a big stone and took one shawl which put on the rock.
Folktales From Indonesia: Jaka Tarub (East Java Fairy Tales)
Illustration of Jaka Tarub

Those women are seven beautiful angels from heaven. They still playing in the water. These girls unrealised the coming of Jaka at that place. But then one of them realised it and screamed,

"Look, there is a man!"

They were so surprised and soon prepare themselves to fly to the heaven by wearing their shawl. One of them, the youngest one couldn't find her shawl which taken by Jaka.

The girl was so sad because she cannot fly without that shawl. All his sisters left her alone.

Jaka then approached that girl and asking,

"Hi beautiful girl, what are you looking for?"

That girl told him what was going on and that she lost her shawl. She introduced herself and her name is Nawang Wulan.

Jaka offered his help and took her to his house. Without more consideration, Nawang Wulan accepted that offer.

Jaka's mother was so glad to meet Nawang Wulan at home. Nawang Wulan was beautiful and kind. She has great respect for her. Nawang lived with Jaka and his mother in a small house.

Jaka and Nawang loved each other and then they decided to get married. Day by day, they spent together until they have a daughter named Nawangsih.

As we know that Nawang Wulan is an angel, so she had a magical power. It was helpful in maintaining their life. Although Jaka only stayed home and had no job, they still can live sufficiently.

Jaka never goes to the rice field, but they always had the surplus of rice and vegetables. It made their neighbour amazed. They suspect there was something wrong with Jaka's wife.

The neighbours thought that Nawang had magical power. Firstly, Jaka never knew about it until one day. He feels astonished why his granary was suddenly full. But the stock of rice began to decrease although he never put the rice on it.

One day Nawang went to the river to wash up the dress. She left Jaka home and warn him not to open the pan while she was cooking the rice.

Jaka felt curious and neglect his wife's warning. Then he went to the kitchen and opened the pan. He was so surprised when he saw there's only a stalk of rice inside the pan.

At the same time, Nawang was back from the river. Nawang Wulan angry when she knew that her husband had disobeyed her warning.

"Oh my God... what are you doing? "Why do you open it?" said her.

From that moment she had no power anymore, so they had to work hard to maintain their life. Day by day the stock of rice in their granary was getting a decrease.

One day, Nawang found her angel shawl which stolen by Jaka which can bring her back to the heaven. Jaka then explained that he had taken it when Nawang and her sisters were swimming at the river. Jaka Tarub was hidden the shawl at the granary. He apologised to her for what he had done.

"That's OK, but now I have to go home," said Nawang.

Jaka tried to avoid her.

"No, you may not go, don't leave us, please!"

Nawang said, " I'm sorry but I can't stay here any longer I have to go" then she wearing her shawl. After that, she gave her last kisses for Jaka and her daughter Nawangsih. Suddenly, she got her power again and flew away to heaven leaving Jaka and Nawangsih.

Seven angels flies
Illustration of Jaka Tarub and seven angels

Nawang Wulan had disappeared behind the cloud, and there were only Jaka and his daughter. They were sad. Finally, they lived separately. Jaka lives with his daughter while Nawang Wulan lives together with her sisters in heaven.

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