Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Tantalus, a character in Greek mythology who was allowed to be present at a banquet of the gods. As a punishment for some offence committed on this occasion, he was punished in the lower world by standing up to the neck in water, which ever receded from his thirsty lips, whilst above him branches laden with fruit dangled just beyond his reach; hence the verb "tantalise."