Tantalus was the rich and mighty king of Lydia. Son ofZeus by a fairy maiden,he was greatly favored by the gods. He was invited to share wine and food with them at their banquets,and he was let into their secrets . But ever the latter end of joy is woe . Either because he had stolen wine orgave away the secrets of Zeus,or because he had become so proud as to test the gods by serving up the flesh of his son Pelopsto them,he incurred the wrath of Zeus and was hurled down to the everlasting darkness of Tartarus . There he was made tostand up to his Greek Culture chin in a little lake,with clusters of luscious fruits hanging over and around his head. He strove eternally to drink the ever-evading water and to clutch at the delicious fruits which were ever tossed out of his reach by blasts of wind.
Tantalus, Greek mythology
Thus he was doomed to endure endless burning thirst and bitter hunger in the world of the shades. The whole occurrence has given rise to the expression "tantalizing",meaning somethng inplain view but unattainable .