VIKINGS never wore horned helmets. As James Rowland notes, the one on stage beside him is a pure invention, a fantasy of storytellers like him made real.

They don’t feature in The Vikings, the 1958 epic starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and then-wife Janet Leigh which became the basis for years of swashbuckling adventures for three children from suburban England three decades later.

Neither do the impractical things feature in the funeral of the man one of them became; a man diagnosed with heart cancer while still in his 20s. James and Sarah had promised to fulfil Tom’s dying wish that he be given a Viking burial, and Team Viking is the touching, often hilarious story of how they did it.

Rowland, an affable and intelligent figure in a crumpled suit and historically-convincing beard, began this story cycle when Team Viking became a sleeper Fringe hit in 2016.

He again brought his warm-blooded mix of comedy and music to the Fringe in 2017 to tell of Sarah’s marriage to Emma in A Hundred Different Words For Love and again last year with Revelations, when the two women ask him to help them start a family.

He presents them all here in Songs Of Friendship, a four-hour Fringe binge only to be repeated tomorrow. It’s far from a slog, Rowland structuring each almost like a religious service where the tough parts are followed by a song.

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And when things get really tough, as they do in Revelations, Rowland orchestrates a gesture of love that involves each of the audience.

“Cool is ... cool,” he says. “I think we need warmth.”

Rowland’s marathon is certainly glowing, and a reminder of the power of stories to shape our beliefs and real lives.

Tomorrow, Summerhall, 9pm, £20 to £25. Tel: 0131 560 1580.