The son of Zeus and Plute/Plouto, Tantalus was granted special privilege by the Olympian gods to be allowed to sit at their table, and feast and wine with them. He would also host the Olympian gods on Earth. Through ill advised actions, and ill fated ideas, Tantalus killed and served his own son Pelops as a dish for the gods to eat. The gods, once aware of this act, undid it, bringing back Pelops from death and dismemberment.
Tantalus' punishment for such a taboo act was to live in Tartarus, cruelly tempted for all eternity by water he can never drink and food he can never eat, even though both are always around him.