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In Greek mythology, Tantalus was the father of Pelops, whom he cut up and served to the Greek gods at a feast. In punishment, the gods sent him to Tartarus, where he was always up to his waist in water and surrounded by delicious-looking grapes. Whenever he bent down to drink the water, it would recede away from him, and whenever he reached out to pick the grapes, they too would draw back out of his reach. From this myth we get the word tantalizing, and also one of Aesop's Fables.

He was the son of Zeus and the father of Niobe; the elements tantalum and niobium were named after these two characters by swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekeberg.[1]