Huan Tui

Huan Tui (桓魋) was a high-level minister in charge of military affairs in Song, who felt so threatened by Confucius that he engineered an attempt to assassinate the sage when he visited the state during his exile from Lu.

According to Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (史記/shǐjì), Huan cut down a tree that Confucius and his disciples were holding a ritual under in order to crush them to death. When the attempt failed the disciples urged Confucius to flee from Song, but he calmed them down by telling them that he had nothing to fear from Huan because “Heaven has bestowed me with virtue.”

Huan Tui went on to become so powerful in Song that, according to the Commentary of Zuo (左傳/Zuǒ zhuán), the ruler of the state attempted to get rid of him in 481 BC. After launching a failed rebellion, Huan went into exile, first in Wei and then in Qi.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 7, Chapter XXII

Book 7
Chapter XXII
Confucius said: “Heaven has bestowed me with virtue. What do I have to fear from Huan Tui?”

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