He was a king of Lydia, and the father of Pelops and Niobe. He gave food that he had stolen from the gods to his fellow humans. He also tried to serve his son, Pelops, in a stew at a feast for the gods, who then rescued Pelops and harshly punished Tantalus. They caused the downfall of his kingdom and condemned him to endless hunger and thirst. He was forced to stand in a puddle of water under a fruit tree. Whenever he reached up for fruit, it was just out of reach; when he knelt for a drink, the water vanished.