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The background of Sendratari Jakatarub Yogyakarta style, is the Javanese legend approaching the setting up of the kingdom of Mataram (16th century), The story is as follows:

A Young man, named Jakatarub one day goes hunting with a blow pipe. Coming close to a lake, he sees heavenly nymphs bathing. jakatarub's heart beats wildly, and he thinks how happy he would be if he could make one of these bathing nymphs his wife. He thinks for a long time and at last comes upon an idea. The nymphs have put their clothes some distance from the lake, and Jakatarub steals the clothes of the nymph he has in mind, Dewi Nawangwulan, and takes them home, hiding them in the rice-barn. Then he returns quickly to the lake.

Having bathed in the lake long enough the nymphs decide to return to heaven, and each quickly goes to fetch her own clothes. Dewi Nawangwulan is startled when she sees that her clothes have disappeared. She cries, and having been left by her friends, she Plunges into the lake. again.


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Jakatarub, certain that his device will succeed, approaches Nawangwulan and -asks her why she is in the lake by herself and why she does not go home. Sobbing, she tells him that her nymph's clothes are lost, and as a nymph she cannot fly back to heaven unless she finds them. jakatarub offers to help her look for them, provided she will become his wife. Nawangwulan agrees, and they go to jakatarub's home. From their marriage is born a child who is to beget a line of kings of Mataram.

One day when Dewi Nawangwulan is taking rice from the rice-barn she sees her hidden clothes. She quickly puts them on. Delighted that she can return to heaven, but moved and filled with sadness that she will leave her husband and child, she meets her husband and tells him that the time has come that she is to return to heaven. With mixed feelings of pleasure and sorrow, Dewi Nawangwulan flies back to heaven, but jakatarub, bereft of his beloved wife, sadly carries his child, who is still a tiny baby.


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