I mean, this is Cinderella. Right?
But it's not even as simple as going to the other extreme--looking for the longest, most authentic, smallest-print edition out there. Sometimes--just sometimes--what the Parents' Union School used is a surprise. Here's one example: In Programme 92 (first term of 1922), the Form III students (middle school-ish) were asked to read "Sigurd the Volsung* by W. Morris (Longmans, 2/-)." W. Morris is William Morris, that William Morris.
I browsed through some book listings for sale, new and used; looked up William Morris's books on Project Gutenberg; found it all a bit intimidating. The idea of reading Sigurd for school did not appear to have much to recommend it.
Then I looked at the Longman's edition on Archive.org. It's from a series called Longman's Class-Books of English Literature. The title page explains it all: "With portions condensed into prose by Winifred Turner, B.A., and Helen Scott, M.A."
So that's how they did it. It's like a version of Shakespeare that includes a lot of the original text, but summarizes scenes here and there. The text is still 126 pages long, but I assume that's somewhat shorter than the original. There's a glossary at the end too.
All right--that we could do.
And that's why, sometimes, knowing a little detail like the publisher of a book can make all the difference.
They are gone — the lovely, the mighty, the hope of the ancient Earth :
It shall labour and bear the burden as before that day of their birth.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Ye have heard of Sigurd aforetime, how the foes of God he slew ;
How forth from the darksome desert the Gold of the Waters he drew ;
How he wakened Love on the Mountain, and wakened Brynhild the
And dwelt upon Earth for a season and shone in all men's sight.
Ye have heard of the Cloudy People, and the dimming of the day,
And the latter world's confusion, and Sigurd gone away.