When headmaster Michael Obi prevents the villagers from using their traditional footpath in Chinua Achebe's story “Dead Men's Path,” the village priest comes to visit him. The priest is courteous toward Mr. Obi, greeting him with respect and presenting his issue calmly and mildly. He makes no accusations and does not get angry. He merely states that he has heard the footpath has been closed. He doesn't even say that Mr. Obi is the one who has closed it.
When Mr. Obi responds that the schoolyard cannot be a highway, the priest begins to calmly explain why the footpath is so important to the people. Even when Mr. Obi insults and mocks the traditional ways, the priest does not get angry. Instead, he patiently says, “What you say may be true, but we follow the practices of our fathers.” He continues by telling Mr. Obi that there will be no quarrel if the latter allows the path to remain open. He wisely advises to “let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch.” In other words, let each person live according to their own ways.
Mr. Obi insists that the path is against regulations and therefore must remain closed. The priest knows that there is no convincing this stubborn young man, but he still does not get angry. He merely gets up, says, “I have no more words to say,” and leaves. The priest again shows his moderation. He has done what he can do, and now Mr. Obi must accept the consequences if he will not listen to reason.