He was a sorcerer at the court of King Wenceslaus of Bohemia (afterwards Emperor of Germany) toward the end of the 14th century and among his more famous exploits is on chronicled by Dulsavius, bishop of Olmutz, in his History of Bohemia. On the occasion of the marriage of Wenceslaus with Sophia, daughter of the elector Palatine of Bavaria, the elector, knowing his son-in-law's liking for juggling and magical exhibitions, brought in his train with a number of morris-dancers, jugglers and such entertainers. When they came forward to give their exhibition, Ziito remained unobtrusively among the spectators. He was not entirely unnoticed, however, for his remarkable appearance drew the attention of those around him. His oddest feature was his mouth, which actually stretched from ear to ear. After watching the magicians for some time in silence, Ziito appeared to become exasperated at the halting way in which the tricks were carried through and going up to the principal magician he taunted him with incompetency. The rival professor defended his performance, and a discussion ensured which ended at last by Ziito swallowing his opponent just as he stood, leaving only his shoes, which were said to be dirty, and unfit for consumption. After this extraordinary feat, he retired for a little while to a closet, from which he shortly emerged, leading the rival magician by the hand. He then gave a performance of his own which put the former exhibition entirely in the shade. He changed himself into many diverse shapes, taking the form first one person than another, none of whom bore any resemblance either to himself or each other. In a car drawn by barn-door fowl, he kept pace with the King's carriage. When the guests were assembled at dinner, the played a multitude of elfish tricks on them, to their amusement or annoyance, however the case may be.
Indeed he was at all times an exceedingly mischievous creature, as is shown by another story told of him. Feigning to be in want of money, and apparently casting about for the means for obtaining some, he at length took a handful of corn and made it look like thirty fat hogs. These he took to Michael, a rich but very mean dealer. The latter purchased them after some haggling, but was warned not to let them drink at the river. The warning was disregarded , and the hogs turned back into the grains of corn. The enraged dealer went in search of Ziito, whom he found at last at a vintner's shop. In vain Michael shouted and stamped, the magician took no notice, but seemed to be in a fit of abstraction. The dealer, beside himself seized Ziito's foot and pulled it as hard as he could. To his dismay, the foot and leg came right off while Ziito screamed lustily and hauled Michael before the judge, where the two presented their complaints. What the decision was, history doesn't relate, but it is unlikely that Ziito came off for the worse.
-- from Spence's 'Encyclopedia of the Occult'
Very extraordinary things are related of Ziito, a sorcerer, in the court of Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia and afterwards emperor of Germany, in the latter part of the fourteenth century. This is perhaps, all things considered, the most wonderful specimen of magical power any where to be found. It is gravely recorded by Dubravius, bishop of Olmutz, in his History of Bohemia. It was publicly exhibited on occasion of the marriage of Wenceslaus with Sophia, daughter of the elector Palatine of Bavaria, before a vast assembled multitude.
The father-in-law of the king, well aware of the bridegroom's known predilection for theatrical exhibitions and magical illusions, brought with him to Prague, the capital of Wenceslaus, a whole waggon-load of morrice-dancers and jugglers, who made their appearance among the royal retinue. Meanwhile Ziito, the favourite magician of the king, took his place obscurely among the ordinary spectators. He however immediately arrested the attention of the strangers, being remarked for his extraordinary deformity, and a mouth that stretched completely from ear to ear. Ziito was for some time engaged in quietly observing the tricks and sleights that were exhibited. At length, while the chief magician of the elector Palatine was still busily employed in shewing some of the most admired specimens of his art, the Bohemian, indignant at what appeared to him the bungling exhibitions of his brother-artist, came forward, and reproached him with the unskilfulness of his performances. The two professors presently fell into warm debate. Ziito, provoked at the insolence of his rival, made no more ado but swallowed him whole before the multitude, attired as he was, all but his shoes, which he objected to because they were dirty. He then retired for a short while to a closet, and presently returned, leading the magician along with him.
Having thus disposed of his rival, Ziito proceeded to exhibit the wonders of his art. He shewed himself first in his proper shape, and then in those of different persons successively, with countenances and a stature totally dissimilar to his own; at one time splendidly attired in robes of purple and silk, and then in the twinkling of an eye in coarse linen and a clownish coat of frieze. He would proceed along the field with a smooth and undulating motion without changing the posture of a limb, for all the world as if he were carried along in a ship. He would keep pace with the king's chariot, in a car drawn by barn-door fowls. He also amused the king's guests as they sat at table, by causing, when they stretched out their hands to the different dishes, sometimes their hands to turn into the cloven feet of an ox,and at other times into the hoofs of a horse. He would clap on them the antlers of a deer, so that, when they put their heads out at window to see some sight that was going by, they could by no means draw them back again; while he in the mean time feasted on the savoury cates that had been spread before them, at his leisure.
At one time he pretended to be in want of money, and to task his wits to devise the means to procure it. On such an occasion he took up a handful of grains of corn, and presently gave them the form and appearance of thirty hogs well fatted for the market. He drove these hogs to the residence of one Michael, a rich dealer, but who was remarked for being penurious and thrifty in his bargains. He offered them to Michael for whatever price he should judge reasonable. The bargain was presently struck, Ziito at the same time warning the purchaser, that he should on no account drive them to the river to drink. Michael however paid no attention to this advice; and the hogs no sooner arrived at the river, than they turned into grains of corn as before. The dealer, greatly enraged at this trick, sought high and low for the seller that he might be revenged on him. At length he found him in a vintner's shop seemingly in a gloomy and absent frame of mind, reposing himself, with his legs stretched out on a form. The dealer called out to him, but he seemed not to hear. Finally he seized Ziito by one foot, plucking at it with all his might. The foot came away with the leg and thigh; and Ziito screamed out, apparently in great agony. He seized Michael by the nape of the neck, and dragged him before a judge. Here the two set up their separate complaints, Michael for the fraud that had been committed on him, and Ziito for the irreparable injury he had suffered in his person. From this adventure came the proverb, frequent in the days of the historian, speaking of a person who had made an improvident bargain, "He has made just such a purchase as Michael did with his hogs."
-- from Godwin's 'Lives of the Necromancers'