Jaka Tarub is the hero of a legend that is very popular among the people of Central Java. Although he was only the son of a simple farmer, he was handsome as well as kind, honest and brave. He liked to help other people. He was always sided with those who were weak but innocent and those who were poor but honest.
One day, a long time ago, when he was returning home from hunting, he happened to pass by a lake. How amazed he was to see several beautiful girls bathing in the lake amid a dense jungle.
Jaka Tarub had reached the age of marriage, and he thought of possibility of getting of the pretty girls as his wife.
As he was thinking hard of a way to get acquitted with any one of them, he caught sight of their clothes, which were piled up under a tree on the bank of the lake. He decided to steal one of the garments. That was what he did and then he did.
After they had finished their bath, the girls walked ashore to fetch their garments. One of them, however, screamed suddenly and wept as she found that her own garment was gone. While they were searching for the lost garment, a rainbow appeared in the sky and glided down towards the lake. Now it was time for them to go back to heaven. As the other girls climbed up the rainbow on their way back to the sky, the one whose clothes had been lost was left alone, weeping, for she could not enter heaven without her heavenly dress.
Seeing this, Jaka Tarub was astonished greatly, because he now knew that they were certainly not ordinary women but nymphs. He felt very sorry for the poor nymph and decided to approach her.
How surprised the nymph was when she saw Jaka Tarub standing before her. She at once thought that he must be the thief who had stolen her clothes, so she blamed and scolded him.
He begged her pardon for what he had done and told her the reason. The sympathetic manners of the handsome boy impressed her so much that she was at once willing to forgive him. She begged the gods as well to pardon him and the gods blessed them. The two soon fell in love with each other.
In no time Jaka Tarub and the nymph, who now had been changed by the gods into a very beautiful ordinary maiden, got married and lived happily ever after.