The song tells the tale of a scarlet-tunic-wearing-gnome named Grimble Gromble. The psychedelic yet puerile lyrics came off the top of Barrett's head during an earlier richly creative period. Reportedly, it also draws its inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien's fiction. "The Gnome" was also included on the B-side of the US Pink Floyd single "Flaming" (Tower 378). This single was never released in the UK.