- Author: James Fenimore Cooper
- Copyright: Public domain
- Published in: 1827
- Word count: 167,603 words (≈ about 11 hours)
The Prairie: A Tale (1827) is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, the third novel written by him featuring Natty Bumppo, his fictitious frontier hero, who is simply known as "the trapper" in it. Chronologically The Prairie is the fifth and final installment of the Leatherstocking Tales. It depicts Natty in the final year of his life still proving helpful to people in distress on the American frontier. Continuity with The Last of the Mohicans is indicated by the appearance of the grandson of Duncan and Alice Heyward of The Last of the Mohicans and the noble Pawnee chief Hard Heart, whose name is English for the French nickname for the Delaware, le Coeur-dur. Natty is drawn to Hard Heart as a noble warrior in the likeness of his dear friend Uncas, "the last of the Mohicans."