The Aplec de rondalles mallorquines d'en Jordi des Racó (Collection of Majorcan Folktales by Jordi des Racó)was the result of Alcover's knowledge of the Majorcan world, the countryside and the city. It was published at a time when Catalan was claimed as the language of education by politicians and educators. The tales recreated a world that belonged to the collective imagination and evoked cultural roots of distant origin.
Alcover’s first literary concerns were manifested through some popular narratives, written in Spanish following the model of Antonio de Trueba, a writer Alcover felt admiration for.
Around 1880, Antoni M. Alcover met Miquel Costa i Llobera, Bartomeu Ferrà, Tomàs Aguiló, Josep M. Quadrado, Joan Alcover and Gabriel Maura, all of them very important people in the literary and scholar panorama of the time. The contact with these intellectuals made him aware of the possibilities of Catalan literature, and he gradually discovered the immense range of vocabulary and idiomatic forms, treasured by farmers, flowing from humble and illiterate oral tradition.
In 1880, Alcover published the first folktale "Es jai sa Barraqueta" in The Ignorance under a pseudonym (Jordi des Racó), as was usual in this humorous journal.
The idea of writing an extensive collection of tales came to him in the summer of 1889 in Mallorca. One of his main reasons was the following:
“[Because I took] pity to see how day by day [folktales] were cornered by other not so harmless distractions [...] I had the idea of keeping myself entertained during the academic holidays [...] by collecting folktales from the mouth of illiterate people [...] out of love for the folktales themselves, to save them from disappearing”.
In 1890 he resumed the task of collecting folktales and participated in the founding of El eco del santuario, a religious magazine. He published the first folktales in this magazine, although it stopped being published in 1891. Alcover continued publishing popular tales in the Boletín de la Sociedad Arqueológica Luliana.
In 1896 the first volume of the Collection of Majorcan Folktales by Jordi des Racó was published. In the preface to this first volume Alcover explained the process he followed in the compilation of folktales and pointed out that the reporters were parents, siblings and messages, friends and acquaintances, and those who had a reputation as folktale storytellers. The folktales had an unexpected reception, so very soon new volumes were published: the second in 1897, the third in 1898, the fourth in 1904, and so on and so forth.
This treasury of folktales has not only attracted Majorcan people but also people in Spain and abroad, so it has been translated into Spanish, German, English, French, Romanian, Czech, Russian, Japanese...
The compilation contains over four hundred titles corresponding to different narrative materials published in a popular edition of twenty-four volumes. We can say that this is the main bestseller in the Balearic literature of all times, since thousands of volumes have been published, and it has been considered a quintessential classic. After all, the Majorcan Folktales recovered the old imagery of Mallorca and they revived popular characters and jokes. Thanks to the collection and publication of folktales, Alcover gained a rightful place among the great European folklorists, next to Charles Perrault, the Grimm brothers or Alexander Afanasiev.